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Welcome to Spotlight!

We know that for many parents and guardians the entertainment industry may be completely new territory so we’ve created these FAQs to help you gain a good understanding of what Spotlight is and how it works within the casting process.

Spotlight was established in 1927 and has maintained its position at the forefront of casting ever since. With studios in London’s famous West End and a team of people across America and Europe, Spotlight is at the heart of the performing arts industry.

Joining Spotlight
Parent/guardian responsibilities
Questions about Spotlight

What is Spotlight?

Spotlight is the UK’s leading casting platform and links the three key players in the casting process: the agent, the casting director and the performer. It’s where your child’s profile can be displayed, found and viewed by casting directors. It’s where casting directors share job information directly with agents, and where agents can suggest the performers they represent for those jobs.

What is the role of the casting director?

The casting director’s role is to find performers. They look for the best talent for each role on stage or screen, and work through countless applications, searches and agent suggestion lists to find the best fit. It’s a complex process with often hundreds of profiles to consider. Once shortlisted, they’ll schedule and run auditions and any further recalls to cast a project.

What is the role of the producer?

The producer finances the project, be it a theatre production, a commercial, a TV drama or a feature film. They will hire a casting director to help them find the right performers for their project.

What is the role of the agent?

The agent’s role is to suggest the children they represent for jobs. They liaise directly with the casting directors and producers to schedule auditions, negotiate job contracts and manage licensing and chaperoning (as required). They support the parent and their child, to help them find the right roles, and put their name forward. Your agent can guide you on how to best present your child on their profile, including choosing the perfect headshot, and advising on the content and quality of their showreel or voicereel. A good agent/parent relationship is vital.

Listen to our podcast on how parents and agents work together for young performers to find out more.

How can a young performer join Spotlight?

young performer wishing to join Spotlight must be between the ages of 4 and 17, and represented by a Spotlight registered agent. The agent can either send a Spotlight invitation directly to the parent/guardian to complete online and submit to us, or complete the application on their behalf, for which full parent consent is required.

How does a parent know if an agent is registered with Spotlight?

Some agents will include this on their website and in their parent/guardian FAQs. If you’re unsure, it’s best to ask them. If they’re not registered, they can contact us at agents@spotlight.com for more information.

Can any agent register with Spotlight?

All agents registering with Spotlight will need to have been in business or have had agenting experience for a minimum of one year. A website and a business email address are required, plus established contacts with casting directors, experience negotiating contracts, and a comprehensive understanding of child licensing and chaperoning processes.

Can a parent/guardian act as their child’s agent on Spotlight?

No, a parent/guardian cannot act as the agent on their child’s Spotlight profile. Representation must be by a Spotlight registered agent. Being an agent is a full time job and requires a good level of industry knowledge and experience.

Can a child be on Spotlight without an agent?

No, a young performer on Spotlight must be represented by a Spotlight registered agent at all times to maintain their membership. If the agent is removed from the Spotlight profile, we will pause the membership and issue a pro rata refund or cancel the monthly direct debit, depending on the payment method in place. The membership can be reactivated once a new agent is secured and added to the profile.

What does sole and non-sole agent representation mean?

Sole representation is when an agent expects their clients to only be represented by them. It will generally mean that they cover all types of work for your child – from musicals to commercials, to TV and feature films, and therefore there isn’t any need for another agent to be putting your child forward for the same jobs.

Non-sole agent representation means the agent is happy to represent your child alongside other agents, and in some cases this may be because they only work in one particular area of work, for example, a voice over agent, who will only look after voice over roles for their clients.

It’s important to know what type of agent you’re signing up with, sole or non-sole, and to figure out what works best for you and your child. Before you make any decisions to sign up with another agent or choose to leave your existing one, you’ll need to check your contractual obligations, which you’ll find in the agency terms you sign when you join an agency, or just have a chat with your agent to check.

Spotlight would recommend one agent works well and is a more straightforward scenario for everyone involved, from agent, to casting director, to ultimately you, the parent. Listen to our podcast about having multiple agents as a young performer where we explore each scenario in more detail.

An agency has asked me to pay an agency fee when I sign my child with them – is this normal?

If you’re asked to pay money when you sign with an agency, you should always ask what the fees quoted are for, and review the information in detail to ensure you’re happy before making a payment. You can also take a look at our guide to the AYPA’s (Agents of Young Performers Association) best practice for agents for further information that may be of help. Please note that this advice does not apply to drama schools in regards to drama training costs and similar.

If an agency will be processing the Spotlight application on your behalf, you can verify the current price for Spotlight membership on our young performer joining page.

What is the parent/guardian responsibility and involvement?

As a parent or guardian of a child in the performance industry, or ‘The Industry’ as you will often hear it referred to, you have a key role to play in supporting your child emotionally during the inevitable highs and lows they will experience, and also on a practical level – getting them to and from auditions, and helping them to learn scripts and record self-tapes.

Informing the agent of anything important that may affect your child’s audition or job availability is crucial, e.g. family holidays and school commitments. Talking to the head teacher at your child’s school about their commitment to the performing arts and their approach towards time off for auditions and jobs is important. Also any changes that could impact the jobs your child is suitable for, e.g. changes to their appearance (e.g. haircut, height) or skill set (e.g. skateboarding, surfing, or trapeze). Inform the agent, and/or update your child’s Spotlight profile.

For more information about how you can help your child, take a look at our parent’s guide to everything you need to know about the industry.

How do I sign in to my child’s Spotlight account?

Follow these steps to sign in to your child’s Spotlight account:

If you have any problems signing in please contact our support team, who will be happy to help.

How do I access the link to my child’s Spotlight Profile?

Follow these steps to get your child’s Spotlight profile link:

  • Sign into your Spotlight account
  • Open the left hand menu
  • Under the ‘My Profile’ heading, click on ‘Link to my profile’
  • When the new page opens, click on the ‘copy link to profile’ button. This is the link to your child’s profile, which also contains their 12 digit unique number, sometimes referred to as the ‘View Pin’. Always practice caution when sharing your child’s profile link outside of Spotlight.

Can parents/guardians see the jobs posted on Spotlight?

No, the jobs board on Spotlight can only be seen by the agent representing your child. They are fully responsible for submitting your child for jobs.

Can parents/guardians see their child’s job submissions on Spotlight?

Spotlight isn’t able to provide this information for legal reasons, so you’ll need to contact your child’s agent to discuss job submissions that have been made on Spotlight. All agents work differently, so it’s good to discuss this early on in the agent/parent relationship. Rest assured agents will always contact you when they have secured an audition for your child and if they go on to get a recall. Many agents use an agency software called Tagmin which has various features for their clients, including visibility of job submissions.

Does being on Spotlight guarantee my child gets a job?

We can’t guarantee that your child will secure a job by being on Spotlight, sadly. However, we can guarantee that your child will be in the mix for the vast range of productions cast on Spotlight, either via their agent suggesting them directly for roles, or casting directors and producers finding them using our search facility, which they use everyday to find the right young performers for the right roles across commercials, TV, feature films and stage productions.

Does Spotlight offer complimentary events for parents/guardians and young performers?

Yes, Spotlight has a tailored online and in-person events programme for current young performer members, which includes webinars for parents and guardians about industry topics, one-to-one advisory sessions, workshops with casting professionals, and regular welcome webinars.

You can find out about these through the ‘Upcoming events’ tab that appears under quick links on the home page once you’ve signed into your account. Career advice sessions will also be advertised at the bottom of this page. You will also hear about them through marketing emails, so make sure you’re signed up for our newsletters and events emails.

If I have more than one child on Spotlight, what’s the recommended email and password set up for them?

We would recommend using the same email address and the same password when you’re setting up your sign in details for more than one child. This will mean that when you sign in with these details, you will be able to choose which young performer account you want to access.

Sometimes a device will remember one profile over another. Clearing cache and cookies will usually resolve this. If the issue persists, contact our support team, who will help you with signing in.

My child has been a Spotlight member before and we let the membership expire. We have agency representation and would like to join again – do I have to do a new application?

No, you don’t need to do a new application. You can simply sign into your previous account and reactivate the membership. Remember though – if there are new agent details to be added, this needs to be done first by emailing our support team. You’ll also need to update the headshot and other profile details once you have reactivated the membership, so that casting directors see a current representation of your child.

What happens when I turn 18 on Spotlight?

Our young performer age cap is 18, so once you turn 18 and reach your next renewal date, you will instead be offered an auto-upgrade to our performer membership.

Is my name on Spotlight protected?

To date, young performers are not included in our unique names policy (where one member cannot have the same or similar name to another). If a young performer upgrades to a performer membership they will need to use our name checker here to see if they can proceed with their current name.

Should I talk to my child’s head teacher at school about possible auditions and jobs?

Communicating with the head teacher of your child’s school about their joy of performing and the possibility of auditions or jobs arising is important. Giving them a heads up and finding out how committed to the performing arts the school is can be helpful all round if your child gets cast in a production and you need to request permission for time off. Each school will have their own view on this and level of previous experience with students working in the entertainment industry.

How is my child kept safe during a production?

Safeguarding of children when working in the industry is paramount at all times. The UK licensing system is designed to provide a check that those responsible for using children in performances, paid sport, and modelling make suitable arrangements to safeguard them. So if a young performer is considered ‘under school leaving age,’ they will require a licence to work as a performer. It’s an extra bit of very important admin that puts in place the protection of young performers who are taking on work here in the UK or abroad.

What does the child licensing process look like?

There are two parts to a licence:

  • Part one is completed by the production company who is hiring the child.
  • Part two is completed by the parent.

Your child’s agent should help drive this process, and should help oversee the completion of the licensing application, even though as a parent you’ll be asked to complete some of the form. The time period for issuing a licence can vary from council to council, but ideally will be within 10 working days. The agent will be well practised at this process, so always be guided by them.

What is Equity and does my child need to be a member?

Equity is the trade union for the performing arts and entertainment industries. They work hard to ensure that actors are paid fairly, treated fairly and have access to help and advice when they need it. If your child is between the ages of 10 and 17, they may be eligible for Equity child membership and all the benefits that come with it. To join Equity as a child member, you need to demonstrate either that you have earned £250 or more from professional work in the entertainment and performing arts industry, you are a member of an FIA-affiliated union, or you have undertaken a job on an Equity contract.

Take a look at our guide to learn what Equity can do for your child.

If you have any further questions that aren’t covered here please do get in touch and we will always do our best to support you. You can also find more helpful advice articles for young performers and their parents in the News and Advice section of our website.