As the lyrics of that well known song by The Backstreet Boys poetically proclaims “I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, what you did..as long as you can be the role..”(ok I changed the last bit myself) which certainly describes my motto in terms of casting. If you can play a role does it matter if you don’t have a qualification from RADA or a CV of a varied career? Of course not!
I have seen a Twitter backlash towards Reality TV personality Ferne McCann, who is making her stage debut in GATSBY next month at The Union Theatre. This is down to a thinking that she is stopping another ‘proper actor‘ from being in the show. What it really seems, is McCann is being made a scapegoat by these disillusioned individuals, as one casting isn’t going to realistically bring down the whole theatre industry.
Personally I detest someone being singled out in this way and believe if they have auditioned for a role like everyone else, they deserve to be judged on their performance in that show . Being a reviewer, I want to look at the GATSBY production as a whole not just at one person too, which this sort of attention (negative or positive), will perhaps overshadow for the audience.
The fact is when you are given an opportunity like GATSBY, you would take it, let’s be honest here. In this industry where that break is far and few between, if you are given a wonderful role, you take it and realise how lucky you are. A sense of snobbery by others, should never lessen an achievement, I should hope this won’t be the case for Ferne McCann.
Remember Theatre is about risks and everyone has to start somewhere and that somewhere could be very special indeed. And most of all, lets show each other kindness in the arts. We need it.