As a disabled actor and presenter, I have found it hard over the years to join Spotlight.
However, because of changes to legislation such as the Equality Act 2010, Spotlight adapted to what needed to change, so that they accept disabled actors, so, in partnership with the National Theatre, it set up ProFile Performers. This enabled me to be able to join Spotlight as it had made “reasonable adjustments” – and continues to do so.
The criteria that Spotlight has now, are reasonable. It’s actually a good thing that it doesn’t accept ‘background artists’ or people with a lack of credits.
Think about this: what would happen if Spotlight also included ‘YouTubers’ or ‘Influencers’ to the casting directory? If they were included, then Spotlight wouldn’t be a professional casting service any more. It’s a good thing there are joining criteria, as you need professional working experience and training (not necessary a drama school, but a university or further education college can be included too) to join. In my opinion, Spotlight isn’t discriminatory as others have reported.
I performed professionally for years overseas before returning to the UK last year but I do not meet Spotlight’s joining criteria as I do not have a qualification in performing arts. It’s absolutely ridiculous, never mind the fees.
Anna Victoria Willows
Spotlight needs to be seriously looked at. It is a privately run company, and so Equity is powerless to do anything about its terms and conditions. As actors, our agents tell us that we have to be on Spotlight as that’s how all breakdowns and so on are dealt with.
But the sheer cost of being a member of Spotlight is ludicrous – especially when you consider that the company no longer has to pay for the books to be printed.
What does our membership fee actually pay for? If it’s for Spotlight’s expensive building near Leicester Square, then it should move to a cheaper part of town.
I recently completed a three-year, full-time BA (hons) in Performing Arts at the age of 45.
I’m on Spotlight now, but only after initially being rejected, and then fighting a battle to convince the company that the course met its criteria.
Musical theatre has grown to such an extent that audiences rarely wouldn’t want to give a standing ovation. I rarely see a West End show that doesn’t warrant one.
Having said that, a few productions get the ovation they deserve with only a few eager audience members on their feet. The standard is generally exceptional, and exceptional talent deserves a standing ovation.
I agree that there are too many standing ovations. A friend in the US tells me that this has been happening there for years and he is disappointed that formerly discerning London audiences have picked up the habit. I’ve noticed that it tends to happen in musicals and in plays with a big-name TV or film star in the lead.
However, there are still theatres where the audiences are discerning. When the audience rose to its feet unprompted at the first preview of The Ferryman, it was a unanimous verdict that this play was something special. When I’ve witnessed partial ovations recently, it has tended to be the younger audience members who jump to their feet whooping – perhaps young people are more demonstrative while older ones are more buttoned up.
Diane Burstein Lynch
I’ve only felt compelled to jump to my feet twice: for Imelda Staunton in Gypsy, and after Come from Away (twice). At other times, I’ve stood because I’m 4ft 11in and can’t see when everyone else is standing.
Paula Harris Brett
Why not change ‘Royal’ to ‘British’? Then we’d have the British National Theatre, British Shakespeare Company and the British Opera House. That is what they are and the British taxpayer pays for them – not that I expect this ever to happen.
Andrew Aldis was a charismatic manager who seemed to change the Spa theatre overnight with his forward-thinking ideas. Bridlington finally had decent acts and fabulous shows. Andrew had the ability to manage his staff and keep them happy in their jobs. He will be sadly missed.
This is happening all over the country in council-owned arts centres. I applaud Andrew Aldis for standing up.
“In a way, the fourth act is what happens to you afterwards. How you process it. And I’m totally happy for there to be intellectual backlash. That’s cool, because that’s a conversation.
I’m terrified of things that are universally lauded, I feel like that’s a full stop.” – Director Nadia Latif on Fairview at London’s Young Vic (Guardian)
“I feel even in real life as a woman I’m written by men in some ways. So I don’t feel like I’m in unfamiliar territory being in a play written by a man about women.” – Actor Lydia Wilson (Evening Standard)
“I don’t think about being 40 too much; I just like to play my age. Somebody sent me a script the other day and half of it would be me playing a 24-year-old version of myself and they said: ‘Oh, but you look so young.’ I was like: ‘I don’t give a fuck!’ I’ve lived it; there are other actors out there still living it.’” – Actor James McAvoy (Time Out)
“I get nervous when I hear an Arts Council desk-wallah say that, when it comes to funding, ‘relevance takes precedence over excellence’. That strikes me as a ludicrous false dichotomy. No amount of outreach will be of any use if the work itself is not first-rate.” – Critic Michael Billington (Guardian)
“I still think of myself as a playwright and so the core of what I want to do is to explore stuff. To me, those things are more important than a hit.” – Author Mike Bartlett (Independent)
“I don’t just want to emit sound. I want my face, my body, my sound to give you goosebumps. You must have them. If it’s dramatic, I need to see your tears.” – Soprano Angela Gheorghiu (Times)
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