Casting Society of America holding first-ever open call for transgender actors

In this stock photo, aspiring actors wait to audition. File/Getty Images

If you’re a Canadian transgender actor, or even if you’re an aspiring one, there’s an unmissable opportunity taking place on Sunday, Oct. 22 in Toronto and Montreal.

The Casting Society of America has announced an international open-call audition for all transgender actors, taking place in 13 locations around the world at the same time. (The Los Angeles locations filled up in less than 24 hours once the news was announced.)

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The CSA says it’s committed to challenging unconscious bias within the entertainment industry and empowering casting directors to lead the inclusion conversation. The ultimate goal of the auditions is to help discover, educate and promote the next generation of extraordinary and diverse talent.

There are an estimated 1.4-million people who identify as transgender in the U.S., and Canada doesn’t keep track of that information (yet), but in the entertainment industry, trans people are woefully underrepresented.

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There are only 11 transgender actors in all of TV, and most trans actors are passed over for transgender characters and aren’t given the opportunity to play non-transgender roles.

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“The reasoning that a non-diverse ‘star’ gets to play a diverse role because there weren’t enough talented, diverse options is an industry myth,” said Russell Boast, VP of Casting Society of America. “We’re going to do something about that.”

Over 30 CSA members around the world will be opening their offices on Sunday to union and non-union transgender actors, including non-binary, gender non-confirmating and genderqueer actors. Artists will be given an opportunity to do a two-page prepared scene in front of a panel of two to four CSA casting director members.

“We are requesting actors bring a scene of their choice that best represents them as an artist,” said Boast, who’s also head of the Inclusion and Diversity Committee.

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The open call will offer underrepresented actors the opportunity to perform in a professional environment, while introducing casting directors to undiscovered gems and a pool of talent who, with the right training, could become the next generation of diverse film and television stars.

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“Trans people have worked hard to hone their craft, but rarely get the chance to be seen since so few are represented,” said Ann Thomas, founder of Transgender Talent.

Offices will be open on October 22 in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Toronto, Montreal, and London from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. local time.

In Toronto:

Casting Central
672 Dupont St.
M6G 1Z6

In Montreal:

Casting Central
7535 Rue Saint-Denis
H2R 2E7

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