Spotlight on London

Jovana Miletic continues her column on life in London as an Australian performer…

London Bus. Image by Metro Centric
London Buses get theatrical. Image by Metro Centric

I was minding my friend’s flat for two months while he was away in Ireland rehearsing a play for the Edinburgh Festival last year. His flat is in the perfect location for a new arrival to London as it is in the heart of the city situated just above Tottenham Court Rd station. It’s in the same building complex as the Dominion Theatre which has a huge bronze statue of Freddie Mercury above it, an interesting spectacle to pass every day. I’d give it a silent ‘hello’ every morning.

One of the first things I did once I landed and moved into the flat was to do research into all the relevant theatrical sites in London. One in particular is currently used by all London actors and it is arguable the most important: Spotlight.

Spotlight is like Showcast in Australia – a database for industry professionals. I won’t go into too much detail (as you can read all about the history in your own time on their website) but to summarise, the company has been running since 1927. It has casting suites that are rented out for TV/ Film/ theatre productions conveniently located in Leicester Square in Lisle St. For Annual membership it will cost you £214 with an additional £35 to add your showreel. You have to have had drama school training or worked professionally to be able to join.

If you do not have an agent Spotlight does have listings from those casting professionals who don’t mind showing their castings to everyone. Which accounts for about 10% of all briefs posted on the site. Something is better than nothing right?

To add further spice to your life it even has a drama school performance calendar.

Spotlight also makes a fantastic directory called ‘Contacts’, much like Encore in Australia. Joining Spotlight and getting your hands on this book is a must do first thing you arrive. You can find agent listings, producers, theatre companies and even tips on how to write to these industry professionals. It’s just great! And heavy!

Some of my favourite actors are/were with Spotlight; Daniel Day-Lewis, Sean Connery, Rachel Weisz, Jeremy Irons and… well, here’s a little story from a recent Spotlight experience.

I get to the front entrance of Spotlight, which is just off Lisle St. I reach for the glass door and pull it open for the people on the other side. That’s when it happens… A man slightly shorter than my 1.78cm steps out pulling a small travel bag behind him. He looks up at me and smiles in response to mine; a charming sort of sheepish smile.
I grin wider and say ‘Hello’; my tone suggesting heightened curiosity with a trace of unplanned sexual innuendo. His face lights up and he responds in kind. As he and his entourage walk on I move closer to the door and turn to look at him again. To my surprise and delight he stops to look back at me, his face still carrying a smile and something more… intrigue. We hold our gaze for a moment longer then go our separate ways. I climb the two flights of stairs to the reception area and ask
‘Was that…who just left?’ The receptionist responds with ‘ yes that was Mr Fiennes.’ It was Ralph Fiennes. He was there casting for a project of his own….

You never know the people you may meet in London town!

To top things off The Prince Charles Cinema is right next to Spotlight’s headquarters. £10 annual membership gives you films for just £6 per session! This is great considering that just around the corner the Odeon charges you 15 pounds for a ticket.

So if you are heading to London as an actor, make sure Spotlight is your first stop!

Till next time, stay flirty Australia!

Jovana Miletic

During her studies in English and Sociology at the University of NSW, Jovana was accepted into WAAPA (The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts) graduating as an actor in November of 2009. Upon her return from a successful trip to the UK in late 2010 she decided pursue her acting career in London, where she now resides. In 2011 Jovana co-directed, choreographed and was an ensemble member in Peer Gynt with The Theatre Collection in London. In early 2012 she produced and directed ‘Beginning Again’ a short film that premiered in Belgrade, Serbia. Her acting credits with WAAPA include; Queen Elizabeth in Richard the Third, Lady Macbeth from Macbeth and Mrs Lynch from Coram Boy. Further credits from Sydney are Electronic City at The New Theatre, Stories from the 428 at Sidetrack Theatre and Sexy Tales of Paleontology that premiered in the Sydney Fringe Festival. Between acting, writing and directing Jovana travels Europe, exploring all the hidden adventures and searching for new stories to tell and be a part of.

Jovana Miletic

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