10 Australian Casting Directors You Should Know

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The Australian entertainment industry is a tight-knit community, which means the number of people who work in casting is an even smaller group of talented and dedicated experts within the field. Many of the industry leaders have been in the game for so long, they’ve helped the industry shift away from a “traditional” casting viewpoint and had a progressive influence on the representation of our First Peoples onscreen and onstage. The below casting directors are notable key players in Australia whose work has led to discovering some of the most successful actors of our time. 


Barrett Casting

Nikki Barrett is a multi-award winning Casting Director, having taken out Best Casting in a Feature Film, Best Casting in a TV Drama, and Best Casting in a TV Miniseries and Telemovie in the 2019 Casting Guild of Australia awards. Her decades of experience and plethora of diverse projects makes her a real leader and driving force in the industry both in Australia and abroad. 

Platforms: film, television
HQ: Redfern, New South Wales
Notable Projects: “The Great Gatsby,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Jack Irish,” “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” “Ride Like a Girl”

Telford Leonard Casting

Telford Leonard Casting is owned and operated by dynamic duo Alison Telford and Kate Leonard. They each had successful careers in their own right, and they decided to join forces after having worked together at the ABC. Actors hoping to submit should know that they operate a completely paperless system, which in the casting world is not an easy feat! 

Platforms: film, television, TVCs
HQ: South Melbourne, Victoria
Notable Projects: “Glitch,” “Please Like Me,” Chris Lilley’s “Summer Heights High,” “We Can Be Heroes,” “Ja’mie Private School Girl,” “Jonah From Tonga,” and “Angry Boys,” TVC campaigns for companies like Telstra, Virgin Australia, and Beyond Blue 

Anousha Zarkesh Casting

Award-winning Anousha Zarkesh brings a skillful grip on casting documentaries and projects based on true stories. She values casting in a way that’s inclusive and culturally diverse, including using local indigenous talent.

Platforms: film, television
HQ: Alexandria, New South Wales
Notable projects: “Black Comedy,” “Rake,” “Tomorrow When The War Began,” “The Secret Daughter,” “Australia: The Story of Us”

Heesom Casting

What could be better than a mother-daughter duo? Heesom Casting was established by multi-award-winning casting director Angela Heesom who is now working alongside her daughter, Lou Heesom, who took up the family business and is a CD herself. 

Platforms: film, television, TVCs
HQ: Glenside, South Australia
Notable projects: “Storm Boy,” “Wolf Creek,” “Danger 5,” “Wolf Creek 2,” Award-winning TVC campaigns for South Australian Tourism Commission, Mobil Australia, and SA Health

Mackintosh Casting

Mel Mackintosh is one of the founding members of the Casting Guild of Australia and created Australia’s first actors’ resource directory, The BizBook

Platforms: film, television, TVCs, theatre
HQ: East St Kilda, Victoria
Notable Projects: “Whose Line is it Anyway?” (Australia) “The Future is Expensive,” “Remembering the Man,” TVC campaigns for brands like Optus, Myer, Ford, Suzuki and Honda

Nathan Lloyd Casting

Nathan Lloyd has received a plethora of awards for his work in the industry, including many for his work on “Wentworth,” having cast over 80 episodes to date. 

Platforms: television
HQ: South Yarra, Victoria
Notable Projects: “Wentworth,” “Offspring,” “Sisters,” “Little Lunch”

McGregor Casting

Chances are if you’re in the industry, you’ve heard of Kirsty McGregor. Alongside fellow casting director Stevie Ray, they have cast a mammoth list of hugely successful Australian films and TV series. 

Platforms: film, television, TVCs, shorts
HQ: Redfern, New South Wales
Notable Projects: “Hardball,” “Mary Magdalene,” “Lion,” “Top of the Lake,” “Animal Kingdom”

Ben Parkinson Casting

Not only does Ben Parkinson have decades of experience casting Australian film and TV, he’s also well-versed casting in both New York and Los Angeles, which could give actors wanting to make the move a bit of a leg up.

Platforms: film, television, TVCs
HQ: Wooloongabba, Queensland and Moore Park, New South Wales
Notable Projects: “The Last Full Measure,” “Lunatics,” “Jungle,” “The Shallows”

Maura Fay Casting

Maura Fay has an international edge and runs intensive, well-regarded audition masterclasses for actors, specialising in American auditions, comedy roles, and script analysis.

Platforms: film, television, TVCs, theatre 
HQ: Redfern, New South Wales and Collingwood, Victoria
Notable Projects: “The Secret River,” “ANZAC Girls,” TVC campaigns for brands like Stan, Toyota, and ALDI

McLeod Casting

It’s the infamous “Neighbours” key casting crew! Although casting Neighbours is a large job, Thea McLeod of Mcleod Casting doesn’t limit herself to just that. Thea and her team like to work outside of the iconic drama (which has been the start of many international stars’ careers) to cast an array of diverse projects.

Platform: film, television 
HQ: Albert Park, Victoria
Notable Projects: “Neighbours,” “Emo the Musical,” “Schapelle Telemovie,” “Better Ma”

Check out the latest Australian Acting Jobs on StarNow.