Interview: Felicity Jackson on Surviving Actors 2011

Surviving Actors launched a year ago and quickly got the industry talking.

Founder Felicity Jackson had a vision to help struggling actors and performers in their quest to sustain a career in what has always been a notoriously difficult profession.

Jackson, a trained actor herself, knew that performers are faced with the constant tussle of finding professional acting jobs as well as other flexible side-line employment to pay the bills. This led her to set up a convention providing services to help them with just that, and now in its second year the occasion has expanded to include the industry’s leading organisations.

Jackson popped into the Fourthwall Magazine offices to give us an insight on what has become a very special event.

We’ve kept the key focus of the event, which is to provide a free quality event for actors

Surviving Actors is back for the second convention. What can we expect from the event this time?

It’s basically bigger and better. We’ve kept the key focus of the event, which is to provide a free quality event for actors, to help them to sustain every aspect of their career. We have more exhibitors, more seminars, we’ve added a CV doctor to the list this year, and there are also more flexible work opportunities from different companies that are attending. We’ve also focused on actors setting up their own work that they can do alongside auditions, such as children’s birthday parties and teacher training.

For someone who attended last year, what will you be offering that is different to attract them back?

This year there will be plenty more seminars to participate in. In particular, a workshop which is run by a hypnotherapist that focuses on self-esteem. We’ve also got a huge array of other exhibitors that actors can sign up to and learn about their service, which are different from last year. Many exhibitors who are attending are offering discounts on their services, so even if you signed up with them last year, then you might find you get a better deal this year. We also have the bars open all day and food available, so it’s a great chance to mix and mingle with other actors looking to network also.

SA 2010: Fabio Marcolini and Phil Matthews (Fourthwall) with Felicity Jackson

You have some pretty interesting seminars and workshops planned. Tell us about them.

We have actors that belong to a co-op agency coming along to give their inside view on being involved in a co-op agency. We also have Spotlight doing a seminar on how to make the most out of your web CV, which is hugely important as it’s often the first port of call for agents and casting directors looking for new actors. We also have Equity giving you advice on how to move to unpaid work to paid work and what your rights are as a performer. We’ve then got the hugely popular seminar from Casting Director Richard Evans who will be discussing the casting procedure from his eyes, a great chance for any actor to gain new knowledge how they can advance themselves in auditions. Edinburgh Fringe Festival are once again travelling down for the event to host a seminar giving an invaluable guide to the festival and how you can make your production work. Then we also have Yvonne I’Anson who will be tackling self-marketing and agents. She will be doing both one-on-one sessions and a group Q&A.

You had a really successful first event last year. What did you learn from organising Surviving Actors?

I learnt that a lot of people in the arts are very giving with their time and as soon as they know it’s a free event for actors, they’re really supportive. I also learnt that actors are very willing to think laterally about their career and how they can make use of all of their skills. I learnt that the event was extremely special as it really does attract a wide range of ages and types of performers. At the beginning of the event we had a clear goal of where we wanted to take the event, keeping the same ethos, free and working with actors and not against them.

I learnt that the event extremely special as it really does attract a wide range of ages and types of performers

You’ve changed venues for Surviving Actors 2011. What is behind that decision?

We wanted a larger venue that would house more exhibitors and have a larger seminar room. We were keen to keep it very central and accessible for our visitors and somewhere that had a bar open all day and space for actors to chill out in to enjoy the day. We were also keen to have a seminar room that was separate from the hustle and bustle of the main exhibitor space  –  and we have found all of this at Sound.

Who will be exhibiting at the event this year?

Other than those already mentioned, we’ve got Casting Call Pro, Stagecoach, Boutique Promotions London, Planet Party, MAD Photography, Graham Bennett Photography, The Stage, PCR, Bambridge Accountants, All Star Talent, Silver Tongue Productions, Great Voice Reel, Presenters Inc, Forever Living, Visual Eyes, Theatre Fix and more confirming every day.

Remind us who should attend the event on the day.

Professionals actors, dancers, singers and those in training.

Is the event and the seminars really still being offered free?

Absolutely. Surviving Actors could attend without a penny to their name and still enjoy every aspect of the event.

Fourthwall incorporating The Drama Student Magazine is proud to sponsor Surviving Actors again this year.

Saturday 22nd January 2011
10am – 4pm

Sound Nightclub
1 Leicester Square
London, WC2H 7NA

Nearest station Leicester Square, Picadilly Circus

NOTE: To guarantee entry to the convention, you must register for an e-ticket. Get further information at

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