Spotlight: Past and Present
Spotlight was founded 85 years ago, when a stage manager called Keith Moss spotted an opportunity in the theatre industry. At the time, the casting business was a little more haphazard. Actors would send dozens of photographs to every director, producer and theatre productions, in the hope of landing a role.
Moss's solution was elegant and simple - he brought together all the photographs, casting and contact details and information for actors into one central directory, and Spotlight was born.
Moss was soon joined by business partner Rodney Millington, and together Spotlight grew in size and became an indispensable part of the industry. The first Spotlight, which predated the first talking film, contained 236 artists and a couple of very talented dogs.
By the time of the first television broadcast in 1932, Spotlight was well established as the mode of casting in both theatre and film and copies of the books sat on the desk of every major theatre director and producer.
After the war, Kenneth Seale joined Spotlight, occupying a number of positions before taking over as director. Kenneth handed over to his son, Nigel, and today Ben Seale (pictured right), Kenneth's grandson, runs the company as Spotlight's Managing Partner.
Of course, in the 70s the information was moved to a computer database, as Spotlight began its transition from publisher to data company. Spotlight continued to support and advise actors, as it does today.
Every year, a Spotlight employee would be dispatched to tour the rep theatres of Britain, speaking to members and advising them on how to make the most of their membership and progress their career. Meanwhile, at Spotlight's offices, every week saw actors arrive for one-on-one career advice with Spotlight experts, a practice that continues today with Emma Dyson's Spotlight Mondays.
Technology was moving at a rapid pace, and in 1997, the website was launched, making Spotlight one of the first directories to be published online. For the first time, performers were able to feature their showreels, voice clips and photography portfolios, and update their CV from anywhere in the world.
The company has continued to develop and hit new landmarks. In 2006, the website received over one million artist searches. In the year to July 2012 an average of 245 casting breakdowns were sent out each week via the Spotlight Link. Since launching the free showreel upload service in April 2013, there have been over 5000 showreels uploaded to the site.
As Spotlight continues to grow, our aim remains the same: to give professional performers the best and most efficient exposure to casting opportunities, and provide the finest services to casting directors and agents.