Changing the face of LGBTQIA+ Casting

Tasha Msanide, Bush Theatre’s Digital Marketing Officer, talks to Charlotte Boden, founder of The Queer House about how the talent agency is revolutionising LGBTQIA+ casting. 

The Queer house is a talent agency for LGBTQIA+ talent and creatives, who are leading the way to ensure that this community is at the forefront of representation. For years there has been a disconnect between the industry, and actors who identify as queer and gender non-conforming. The Queer House are committed to promoting and supporting talented actors and performers without compromise.

There has been many conversations surrounding the accurate representation of LGBTQIA+  characters and stories that are being told on the stage and screen, and The Queer House are there to ensure that their voices are celebrated positively and professionally.

We spoke to Charlotte From The Queer House about how they’re changing the face of LGBTQIA+ representation in theatre casting.

What was the impetus to start The Queer House?
Queer House was inspired by the performers of this show. We couldn’t understand how the commercial industry didn’t see a place or feel like these performers could have a career. There is nothing more powerful or interesting than someone being themselves, so we started a platform to create a database of performers but quickly realised we had to go one step further. The Queer House was born.

The Queer House will be hosting an After Part on Thur 7 March following the evening performance of And The Rest of Me Floats

The Queer House will be hosting an After Part on Thur 7 March following the evening performance of And The Rest of Me Floats

What were the challenges you had to face when you first started?
It can feel frustrating trying to create something that hasn’t existed before as there is no blue print to follow. Sometimes it’s tiring having to explain why something like this is important and necessary, or like I mentioned before trying to persuade the sceptics that it can actually be successful. But it is all worth it when you help someone live their dream or know that in some cases you are the only support a performer has.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen since starting?
People are starting to understand the concept. At the beginning there were a lot of scoffs and throw away comments that this could never work, and now people do actually work and gain success from our events. There has been a shift in both the quality people can expect and also a further understanding of the importance. We work with some amazing people in the industry who have been waiting for a way to connect with LGBTQIA+ performers and we are so pleased we can support them.

“There has been a shift in both the quality people can expect and also a further understanding of the importance.”

You’re putting on an After Party event as part of And The Rest of Me Floats, could you tell us a little about what to expect?
A celebration of amazing queer talent. We have chosen to showcase performers who are currently working on a full length show so we will hear about the development and see a 10 minute section from what they are developing right now. We have comedy, movement, new writing and a musical all thrown in there. These performers are exceptional and we can’t wait to share what they’ve been working on at the Bush.

What are the next steps for The Queer House?
We have big plans for 2019 which will help further our reputation as a queer production house and somewhere you can link with talented performers. I’m not sure if we can actually share the really exciting stuff just yet so watch this space. What you can expect is us working on some truly amazing projects and bringing them to the forefront and helping to shape some long term careers in the industry.

Do you have any advice for any LGBTQIA+ artists and creatives? 
Trust yourself. Be yourself, because you do not have to compromise. Only we should be allowed to tell our stories, and everyone has one to share. Push for working with people you feel understand you and continue to support each others work. Everyone is fighting the same battles.

Charlotte is currently working as the Engagement Producer for And The Rest of Me Floats which plays in the Theatre on 20 Feb.

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