Something we always hear is emerging artists saying they ‘just don’t know where to start’ when they’re trying to look for a theatrical agent. The number one resource is the excellent MEAA list of equity-approved agents, but it’s a long and exhausting list. So we’ve trawled through it, done some research and asked everyone we know to profile some of the best agencies to help you on your journey!
1 – Active Artists Management
Active Artists Management has been running under the hands of John and Wendy Powell since 2000. They represent a lot of emerging actors including some who have achieved local success and are now doing great things overseas. This shows that their claim of international contacts isn’t unfounded. Although it appears that their actors receive more screen than stage work, the training and expertise of many new recruits suggests they can focus on the stage as well. All their actors are ridiculously attractive and some look very alike, so make sure you have something to offer and the agents are willing to help you show that. This could be a great agency for an actor looking to move from emerging to established.
Established artists: Bruce Alexander, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Eliza Taylor
Rising stars: Fantine Banulski, Kazim Kane, Christopher Pang
Representation: If you’ve got some experience and a unique look then get in touch.
2 – Aran Michael Management
Aran Michael Management promote themselves as having great connections overseas, and they do have many actors who are doing well internationally. They have a range of faces and types on their listing, although there does seem to be a strong connection with Neighbours. Which is definitely not a bad thing. Many of their actors have theatre backgrounds and devise a lot of their own work, highlighting a commitment by Aran Michael Management to hardworking actors looking for both stage and screen work.
Established artists: Scott Major, Margot Robbie, Tim Ross, Ashley McKenzie
Rising stars: Mark Diaco, Stephanie Lillis
Representation: Best to know someone who knows someone to have a chance. Or be onNeighbours.
3 – BGM
Established in the 70s, BGM is one of the oldest agencies around. Now BGM have a huge range of established Australian actors on their listings. There are many more established than emerging artists here and, in fact, the agency has their own in-house publicist. There are some younger actors but they still have considerable experience and need to ensure they’re not being forgotten amongst all the top earners. This is an agency to build up to in your career.
Established artists: Susie Dee, Shaun Micallef, Neil Pigot, Jane Turner
Rising stars: Matylda Buczko, Ryan Jones, Sarah Ogden
Representation: You need to have great experience, training and have a notable recommendation to get in the door.
4 – Catherine Poulton Management
Catherine Poulton Management (CPMGT) aims to understand the unique talents of every performer, so their range of agents can represent each actor to the best of their ability. This is perhaps why CPMGT is one of the most sought after agents in the country, representing actors in both Melbourne and Sydney with great international contacts. With a large children’s department some actors can be forgotten as they get older, however, the number of established and emerging young artists from the NICA, WAAPA and 16th Street Actors Studio keeps the agency at the top. One of the best agencies, they represent some of the most hardworking – and extremely attractive – actors in the business.
Established artists: Alexandra Aldrich, Alinta Chidzey, Ryan Corr
Rising stars: Jasper Garner Gore, Joel Horwood, Emily Milledge, Emily Wheaton
Representation: You’re going to want to know the right people, have a lot of talent and be sure you’ve got the right look.
5 – Hennessy and Harman Management
Hennessy and Harman Management aim to be an honest and intimate agency. Founded in 2003 by an experienced agent and a PR consultant, they have a range of established and emerging artists. Their small and selective group of actors are all either highly experienced and/or very well trained. This commitment to actors that are truly talented means that just being signed by this agency shows to casting directors that you are a professional. They claim to have contacts in the United States and the United Kingdom, so if that’s something you’re looking for make sure you enquire further. The carefully selected actors on this list do seem to access work regularly, so this is definitely an agency to look into.
Established artists: Drew Tingwell, Peter Rowley, Ben Steel
Rising stars: Nick Bendall, Vanessa Crouch, Emily Goddard
Representation: Their website acknowledges how selective the agency is, so best to have a referral from an actor already on their list.
6 – Ian White Management
Ian White Management (IWM) prides itself on providing work across film, television, musical theatre and theatre. It’s a bold claim but yes, it seems to be accurate. IWM actors are regularly picking up spots in local TV series, and seem to populate the music theatre stage. In fact, music theatre seems to be the main source of employment with IWM actors, so if that’s your thing then go for it. The agency mostly has young, attractive actors and a small range of older actors as well. Many recent drama school graduates are being snapped up by IWM, and their list is filled with emerging artists that show lots of promise – an agency to watch.
Established artists: Danielle Horvat, Phoebe Panaretos
Rising stars: Harry Borland, Kea Libratella, Luke Jacka, Daniel Marando
Representation: Make an enquiry, but ensure you ask about the agency’s commitment to non-music theatre work.
7 – Ignite Elite Artists
The interesting thing about Ignite Elite Artists (IEA) is that it seems as though everyone on their books has the potential to be a rising star. There’s a lot of good chatter about IEA and how they’re very supportive of individual careers and getting their actors in ‘the room’. Although not all their actors come from classic drama school training, they do have extensive training in classes. There is a wide range of looks and types and many of their actors are successfully booking TVCs. Based in Sydney but representing a lot of Melbourne artists, IEA seems to be a great place for the emerging artists to start.
Established artists: Give them a couple of years
Rising stars: Vincent Andriano, Hayley Barker, Frank Fazio, William Lee
Representation: Definitely pitch what you have to offer and see if they’re the right partnership for you.
8 – JM Agency
Founded in 1986, JM Agency is one of the most respected in Melbourne and their commitment to choosing hardworking actors guarantees quality. Often linked to the superb Red Stitch Actors Theatre, many of their actors have drama school training or extensive class experience. With a wide range of ages and styles it seems that a lot of JM actors stay with the agency for a long time and have a thriving theatre career. As the Australian agent for many actors who search for work overseas, it’s safe to say that the agency does actually deliver on its promise of international contacts.
Established artists: Daniel Frederiksen, Bella Heathcote, Zahra Newman
Rising stars: Dean Kirkright, Jonathan Patrick Moore, Sophie Weiss
Representation: You had better be a recent drama school graduate or have a contact to be noticed.
9 – Liz Ellis Management
Established in 2000, Liz Ellis Management (LEM) has a small and selective group of actors they represent. With a wide range of ages, and representing actors, singers and dancers, here the triple threat is king. Many of their actors hail from the WAAPA, and have specific music theatre training. Their actors pop up on TVCs but none have really pushed through into recognisable names at this point in time – although the future looks good. The small size of the company is a promising sign for emerging artists looking for an agent to help nurture and build the early start to their career.
Established artists: Jason Geary, Phillip McInnes, Maria Mercedes, Ian Michael
Rising stars: Gareth Keegan, Alexandra Keddie, Rebecca Mezei
Representation: Get in touch and see what they can do for you, and what you can do for them.
10 – Melissa Rose Management
This agency is another one of those that goes under the radar somewhat, but whose actors seem to be ever present and gaining consistent work. Having been around for over ten years, the agency has built up a solid reputation on both stage and screen. Like all good agencies most of their actors have some training and either extensive experience or a unique look. The range of looks and types on their list is great, and emphasises their commitment to working actors rather than simply stardom. This is definitely an agency to watch, with many talented and emerging artists who have the potential to go far.
Established artists: Ella Caldwell, John McCullough, Ben Prendergast
Rising stars: Celia Mitchell, Syrie Payne, Steven Sheeran, David Studley
Representation: Definitely contact and see if you’re a fit.
11 – Profile Talent Management
Profile Talent Management are a massive organisation. They represent actors, presenters, journalists, comedians and everyone who could possibly be considered to work in the entertainment industry. Representing the most successful and prolific presenters, as a young actor you’re going to want to be sure that your presence won’t be swamped by these more profitable stars, and that they’ll nurture a stage career as well as screen. However, the young and emerging actors on their list are all very committed to their careers. They’re the type who constantly train, create their own work and are always out making contacts. They’re the kind of young actors who work harder than everyone else. If you’re that person then maybe Profile Talent will notice and help you on your journey.
Established artists: Hamish Blake, Paul Mercurio, Dannii Minogue
Rising stars: Michael Argus, Clare Dea, Christian Heath, Soren Jensen, Clara Pagone
Representation: Be talented, work hard and then find someone to connect you.