UK Agents Championing Disabled Talent in Film and TV

In the realm of UK talent agencies, a seismic shift is underway as agents take center stage in advocating for better representation of disabled talent in the film and TV industry. Adam Welsh, the visionary behind Divergent Talent Group (DTG), reflects on the transformative role agents play, challenging the perception of the term itself.

Against the backdrop of industry stalwart Peggy Ramsay’s disdain for the word “agent,” these trailblazers are rewriting the narrative.

Welsh, dedicated to representing neurodivergent talent since DTG’s inception in 2021, stands at the forefront of this movement. Sara Johnson and Julie Fernandez, joining Casarotto Ramsay, exemplify a dual approach, representing and training talent while addressing crucial access coordination.

Their focus extends to advocating for access requirements for Casarotto clients with disabilities, reinforcing the agency’s commitment to change.

UK Agents

Deadline writes that Andrew Roach, with a roster featuring Britain’s Got Talent winner Lost Voice Guy, emphasizes the industry’s evolving recognition of the role each entity must play. Moreover, Roach notes a shift from his initial experiences of feeling like “shouting into a black hole.” Insanity, where he now serves as Senior Talent Manager, embraces a fresh, non-performative approach to disability representation.

Louise Dyson, founder of VisABLE People, brings a wealth of experience spanning three decades, placing disabled actors in prominent shows like Call the Midwife and Doctor Who. Dyson underscores the gradual transformation from a lack of representation to securing roles where disability becomes incidental, a significant paradigm shift.

The industry’s unsung heroes, access coordinators, gain prominence through Johnson and Fernandez’s advocacy. Their roles prove pivotal in integrating disabled talent seamlessly on set. This initiative aligns with the broader goals of the UK broadcaster-backed TV Access Project, striving to eliminate accessibility issues by 2030.

UK Agents Breaking Barriers on TV

As these agents forge ahead, the industry witnesses a collaborative approach to tackle long-standing barriers. Casting directors, previously hesitant to acknowledge conditions like autism or ADHD, are now witnessing the success of openly neurodivergent talents like Steven Spielberg and Greta Gerwig.

Adam Welsh emphasizes the business case, showcasing the “purple pound” and urging the industry to recognize the commercial imperative of diverse representation.

Moreover, in this transformative era, agents emerge as catalysts for change, rewriting the narrative and championing a future where disability is seamlessly integrated and unremarkable. The agents, once seen skeptically, now stand tall as advocates for progress in an industry undergoing a profound transformation.

Joanne Wells

Joanne Wells is a media journalist for ScreenNearYou. She reports on the inside conversations in Hollywood. Also, she loves pizza!

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