The EDI Group

(Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)

The EDI Group (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion) was started two years ago on an informal basis by several CDG members who wanted to find ways to be proactive in promoting these values within our profession, both within the Guild itself, and in our work.  Over the past few months we have formalised the group, assigning ‘leads / point people’ to different areas, and establishing a formal system of communication with the CDG committee.  Some of the bigger projects we have been working on include creating a paid casting internship for people who are currently underrepresented; professionally auditing audition spaces for accessibility; initiating a system of diversity data monitoring within the CDG; meet and greet events for D/deaf and disabled actors to meet Casting Directors; and upping representation in the CDG’s social media output.  We are also working alongside the committee to update the Guild’s Code of Conduct, and have working relationships with the PMA’s Diversity Group, and the Independent Commission for Race Equality launched by Equity.

The EDI Group can be contacted on edigroup@thecdg.co.uk.  We also welcome you to contact any of us directly if you prefer – our point areas are listed below, at the end of our biogs.

Sonia Allam

Sonia Allam

Sonia has been working in casting since 2008. After working alongside some of the UK’S leading casting directors at Gary Davy casting, Catherine Willis casting, ITV, BBC and Lime Pictures, Sonia Allam Casting was founded in January 2019.

Her credits include projects for BBC, STARZ, Amazon Prime, ITV, C4, E4, C5, Discovery ID, National Geographic, Comedy Central, CBBC, Disney, nickelodeon & BFI.

Sonia was one of the founding members of the EDI group and champions better representation on and off screen. Sonia’s point areas in the EDI Group are Race, Disability, Getting Into Casting, and Internal CDG Affairs. She and Ri McDaid-Wren are also co-liaisons with the CDG committee.

Heather Basten

Heather Basten

Heather Basten is an English casting director based in London. She found her break into the industry at the BFI nearly a decade ago. She then moved into casting for Film and TV, where she has since cast for notable directors such as Rob Savage, Ana Rocha De Sousa, Koby Adom and Abraham Adeyemi.

Heather wrapped 2020 by casting feature length films for BLUMHOUSE and ESCAPE PLAN. Her feature film LISTEN was the most awarded film at VENICE FILM FESTIVAL 2020, as well as short film NO MORE WINGS winning at Tribeca 2020.

Heather is nominated for a Casting Society of America ‘Artios Award’ 2021 for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Casting’.

Heather’s point areas in the EDI Group are Race, Getting into Casting & Class/socio-economic.

RAY

Ray Böhm

Ray Böhm is a London based Casting Assistant at Andy Pryor Casting. His most recent work includes ‘Years and Years’ for BBC and HBO, ‘Doctor Who’ for the BBC, ‘Traces’ for UKTV, and Its a Sin for Channel 4 and HBO Max.

Ray’s point areas in the EDI Group are Race, TV & Getting into Casting

 

Francesca Bradley

Francesca Bradley

Fran has been working in casting since 2010, with her first job being on Captain America: The First Avenger, since then she worked across multiple genres in both film and television including sci-fi, action, horror, crime and mystery. Her credits include Logan, 6 Underground, Ford vs. Ferrari and Transformers: The Last Knight. More recently she worked on co-casting the third series of the critically-acclaimed Das Boot.

Fran’s point areas in the EDI Group are Disability, TV & Film.

Aisha Walters

Aisha Bywaters

Aisha Bywaters started working in casting in 2007. Aisha worked for Shaheen Baig for 6 years, she assisted Shaheen on numerous projects including films the IMPOSSIBLE, STARRED UP, BLACK MIRROR and PEAKY BLINDERS. In 2015 she set up her own company, her credits as a casting director include Cyberbully (starring Maisie Williams), THE WATCHMEN (starring Stephen Graham) and ENTERPRICE (written by and starring Kayode Ewumi) for TV. Her film credits include DIRTY GOD and THE LAST TREE (which both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2019).

For her work on THE LAST TREE she was nominated for A British Independent Film Award for Best Casting alongside Shaheen Baig. Her upcoming projects include Channel 4 comedy LADY PARTS written and directed by Nida Manzoor. In September 2020 Aisha was named one of Screen International’s UK & Ireland Stars of Tomorrow.

Aisha’s point areas in the EDI Group are Race, TV, FILM, & Class/socio-economic.

Ollie Gilbert

Ollie Gilbert

Ollie Gilbert is one half of Gilbert and Covell Casting which was established in 2016 by Casting Directors and long-time friends Ollie Gilbert & Katy Covell – we cast TV Series, Films & Commercials of all genres and lengths and enjoy working with promising new film-makers and long established creatives alike. Credits include Feature Film OBEY (Prod Co. Beyond Fiction) which earned lead actor Marcus Rutherford a BIFA nomination for ‘Most Promising Newcomer 2019’.

Ollie’s point areas in the EDI Group are Film & Disability.

 

Jill Green

Jill Green

Theatre includes: Dear Evan Hansen (Noel Coward); Touching The Void (Duke of York’s/Bristol Old Vic & Tour); War Horse (New London Theatre/Tours 2015-2020); The Lion King Tour (2015-2022 UK & Ireland /International Tours); The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time (Gielgud Theatre/Piccadilly Theatre/Tours 2015-2022); 101 Dalmatians (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre 2021 Season); Hairspray (Coliseum 2021); Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (Aldwych/UK & Ireland Tours); Lazarus (Kings Cross Theatre); The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Bridge Theatre/West Yorkshire Playhouse); Kinky Boots (Adelphi/UK & Ireland Tour); Disney’s Aladdin (Prince Edward); Jersey Boys (Prince Edward/Piccadilly/UK & Ireland Tours 2007-2019); Young Frankenstein (Garrick); Jane Eyre (UK Tour 2017/National Theatre); La Strada; Show Boat (New London/Crucible Theatre Sheffield); The Scottsboro Boys (UK Casting, Garrick/Young Vic); The Producers (Theatre Royal Drury Lane/UK Tours); Contact (Queens Theatre); Fosse (Prince Of Wales)

Jill’s point areas in the EDI Group are Theatre & Class/socio-economic.

Ri McDaid-Wren

Ri McDaid-Wren

Ri McDaid-Wren has been Casting Associate to Andy Pryor since 2016.  Alongside that she occasionally works on her own projects as Casting Director.  She is an impassioned advocate for better representation in the industry both on and off screen, and has been an active member of the EDI Group since its inception.

Ri is Co-Casting Director on the second series of ‘Traces’, alongside Andy Pryor.  Credits as Associate to Andy include: ‘It’s A Sin’, ‘Years and Years’; ‘Gentleman Jack’ s1 + 2; ‘Doctor Who’ s10 – present; ‘The A Word’ s.2-3; ‘Traces s1’; ‘Summer of Rockets’; ‘Hard Sun’; ‘Cold Feet’ s8; ‘Stan & Ollie’.  Solo Casting Director credits include short films ‘Pork Scratchings’; ‘The Cost of Living’; ‘I Luv Mat Johnson’, as well as various theatre productions.

Ri’s point areas in the EDI Group are LGBTQI+, Getting Into Casting, TV and Internal CDG Affairs.  She and Sonia Allam are also co-liaisons with the CDG committee.

Katie Mozumder

Katie Mozumder

Katie worked in TV production before moving into casting in 2017 where she has been working for Casting Directors Suzanne Crowley and Gilly Poole.

Most notable projects include Killing Eve seasons 1-3 (BBC America) with Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer; The Durrells (ITV), Trollied (Sky 1), We Hunt Together (UKTV) and most recently Finding Alice (ITV). Katie has assisted in casting for several theatre projects for Hampstead Theatre and Sunset Limited (Boulevard Theatre) in 2019.

Katie’s point areas in the EDI Group are Race & Getting into Casting.

 

Verity Naughton

Verity Naughton

Verity Naughton, is a London based Casting Director & Associate. Verity is currently an Associate at Jina Jay Casting, and has previously worked as an Associate alongside Kate Ringsell on projects such as Riviera, Berlin Station & Fate: The Winx Saga. Independently, Verity has cast projects for Southwark Playhouse, Chichester Festival Theatre, The Old Red Lion, The Pleasance, Hope Mill Theatre and several readings for the Almeida theatre.

Specialising in child and young person casting, Verity has cast children in a wealth of West End shows as well as many studio feature films and TV productions most recently Enola Holmes & The Pursuit of Love. 

Verity’s point areas in the EDI Group are Disability, Theatre & Class/socio-economic.

Olissa Rogers

Olissa Rogers

Olissa began her career in casting in Germany, back in 2008, where she mainly worked as a Casting Director in TV, working with Constantin Entertainment. In 2016 Olissa met casting director Jeremy Zimmerman and worked as his Casting Assistant, working on several film projects with him. Since then Olissa has worked with highly respected casting directors. She was Casting Assistant to Kharmel Cochrane for commercials and TV/Film Projects, Casting Associate to Theo Park and until March 2020 she was working as Casting Associate for Amy Hubbard.

Olissa Rogers is currently working as casting associate at Fiona Weir Casting. Some of her recent casting credits include ‘Ted Lasso’ (Apple TV), ‘Brassic’ (SKY), ‘We Are Who We Are’ (HBO) and Criminal UK (Netflix).

Olissa’s point areas in the EDI Group are TV & Getting into Casting.

Gabriella SF

Gabriella Shimeld-Fenn

Currently working in-house at the BBC, where I have so far cast 6 episodes of Casualty and 3 episodes of Doctors, along with assisting on over 100 episodes of Casualty, and working on the casting of Father Brown, Shakespeare & Hathaway, and the Sister Boniface Mysteries. Prior to this, I assisted Louise Cross with, amongst other things, Midsomer Murders S20 and Hidden S1, as well as taking the lead in casting fringe theatre productions and readings for venues such as The Hope Theatre, Park Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, and King’s Head Theatre. I have a degree in French & Italian from the University of Manchester, which now only really comes in useful when ordering at restaurants.

Gabriella’s point areas in the EDI Group are LGBTQI+ & TV.