Theatre casting advice for Actors from Ellie Collyer-Bristow

Working previously for ATG, Ellie is now a freelance casting director. Productions whilst with ATG include Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Playhouse Theatre), Passion Play (Duke of York Theatre), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy Theatre), Spamalot (Playhouse Theatre and 2015 tour), The Rocky Horror Show, Tonight’s the Night, Annie Get Your Gun, Blue/Orange (all UK Tours).

Credits as a casing assistant include films Pimp and Legacy and TV productions to include Come Rain Come Shine (ITV), Hattie (BBC) and When Boris met Dave (Ch4).

Ellie's Top Tips...


Consider streamlining and reordering credits, so that your strongest credits shine.


Keep showreel short, one minute of footage that captures your versatility is better than 4 minutes that don’t show anything new. Cut down on montages.


Judge the sound and space of the room and pitch your performance accordingly.


Make sure you keep your profile up to date and constantly refresh it.


Ensure headshots look like you and don’t overwhelm your profile with too many photos. Don’t have a lot of images showing the same expression.


If you sing and want to be considered for musicals but don’t have MT credits on your CV, perhaps add a short clip of you singing, so that the casting director has an idea of what your singing voice/voice type is like.

Actors feedback:

'Informative, laid back and fun - I got to ask the questions that I wanted.’ Michael Jinks

‘Fantastic. Honest. Constructive. Brutal. Enthusiastic. She was incredibly helpful!’ Fed Zanni

‘Terrific! She tailored the session to focus on what I needed, but still ensured she got to know me.’ Reginald Edwards

‘Really helpful advice. Was lovely to get an outside perspective on my showreel, headshots and CV and get help on how I can maximise opportunities.’ Katie Sheridan

‘I really enjoyed meeting Ellie, it was great to talk things through with someone in the industry who doesn’t know me and could be completely honest.’ Katie Sheridan

‘It was great to speak with a casting director on a one to one basis, I felt I could ask questions without being worried about getting a part.’ Rachel Summers

‘The sessions are really helpful for actors with limited funds. Thanks for the opportunity.’ Rachel Summers

‘Always so useful to come in and meet casting directors. More please!’ Jessica Sian

‘So useful to get clarification about the whole casting process and why a casting director sees one actor over another.’ Danny Mahoney

Previous surgeries with top casting directorsTake a look at top tips and invaluable advice from our Surgery sessions on our Guides.