The Casting Society of America will tackle the age-old problem of ageism at a town hall for senior actors on June 10 in New York City as part of its ongoing “Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion in Casting Initiative.”
According to the CSA, the event’s goals are for actors and casting directors “to better understand the practical issues they encounter in their respective professions; to share goals and aspirations, and to discuss how CSA might better and more consistently work to increase audition opportunities and advocate for senior actors.”
Said casting director Stephanie Hobrook, who will be one of the panelists: “Now, more than ever, I feel a responsibility to do my part in ensuring that our multicultural and multigenerational society is reflected truthfully and collectively on screen. Inclusion in casting is about helping provide opportunities to actors of all ethnic backgrounds and ages, sometimes by helping open the eyes of our creative teams to scenarios outside of what is on the page. We want to honor the writers while at the same time honoring our diverse artistic community.”
Other panelists will include actors Patricia Bowie, Guy Whitlock and Lynn Cohen; talent agent Judy Boals; and casting directors Judy Henderson and David Caparelliotis.
“We are just as diverse as any other group, with wants, needs and desires, not to mention intelligence and wisdom,” Bowie said. “It takes great courage to allow yourself to age and be who you are.”
Said Whitlock: “As senior actors, we bring gravitas to any production with which we are involved. We certainly are a well-worn connective thread in the vibrant fabric of society, which storytelling should and needs to reflect. CSA recognizes that and champions the push to utilize and promote the valuable asset that we represent, and the lifetimes of experience and authenticity we bring to every role we play.”
The CSA says its Inclusion Initiative is “a series of conversations and workshops designed to effect concrete change in how actors in historically underrepresented communities are afforded access to job opportunities.”
The town hall, which will be held at the Actors’ Equity Building in Manhattan, will be followed by a series of free workshops, after which participating actors will receive video footage for their audition reels. Actors, casting professionals, agents and managers can RSVP to attend here. The event will also be streamed on Facebook Live.