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National Theatre commits to telling every actor it auditions whether they get cast

The National Theatre on London's South Bank. Photo: Philip Vile The National Theatre on London's South Bank. Photo: Philip Vile
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The National Theatre has committed to giving every actor it auditions at least a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response, as part of an updated casting policy.

The move was announced by the National’s head of casting Alastair Coomer, who told The Stage the theatre wanted to make a public commitment to the #YesOrNo initiative, an actor-led campaign calling on the industry to let performers know the outcome of their audition.

Coomer said: “It has been the aim of the National Theatre for some time to give at the very least a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response to every actor once they have auditioned here, but we thought now was a good moment to make a proper commitment to that.

“It is vital that we pay respect to the actors we meet by always acknowledging their work and contribution to the casting process, which is why the NT wholly supports the #YesOrNo initiative.”

He added that while the NT is not always able to make decisions right away, it will let actors know if they have been successful as soon as possible.

The #YesOrNo campaign was started after actors criticised the practice of not telling auditionees if that had been unsuccessful.

Many said they regularly find out they have not been chosen for a role only when casting is announced on social media, receiving only silence from casting directors or theatres.

Danny Lee Wynter, who started the campaign, said on Twitter he was “utterly thrilled” that the National Theatre had voiced its support.

“When the main engine room of British theatre makes this kind of commitment the possibilities of other casting gatekeepers taking up the mantle is inspiring. This is the start of change,” he said.

Equity’s casting manifesto, released last year, includes a stipulation that casting directors should let an actor or their agent know they have not been given a role at the earliest opportunity.

Equity demands end to ‘stressful, exclusive and London-focused’ casting

The union applauded the National Theatre’s commitment and reiterated a call that this should be “the absolute standard practice”.

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