If you have recently graduated from drama school in the UK, or you are an established actor who has recently moved to London from another part of the world, or you are beginning your journey as a performer via a different route, one thing you will probably already be aware of is how important securing good representation from an agent is. In such a competitive business, an agent is a necessity, not a luxury. Whether it be theatre, TV, film or voice-over work, most production companies are not happy to deal directly with the actor himself; as a result, most of them only consider using actors who are represented by reputable personal management. But finding an acting agent in London, no matter how brilliantly talented you are, can be a challenge.

What are agents looking for?

Acting agent Estelle

Most responsible personal managements (meaning they are your only representative) will only consider taking on clients who they believe stand a reasonable chance of getting regular and lucrative work - unlike Estelle, Joey's agent from Friends (pictured). It's not all about talent either. Actors agents will also be looking to fill a gap on their books; if they already represent ten women in their thirties, all of whom have a similar appearance, vocal quality, character type and skill set, it is unlikely they will be looking to take on anyone else in that casting bracket. In general, the best talent agents in London will only invite you to an interview having seen you perform and been suitably impressed; they need to see evidence of your ability and employment potential.

The catch 22 is that it is often difficult to get work without an agent, but an agent won't take you on without having seen your work. Drama schools (particularly the most reputable ones who are members of the Conference of Drama Schools) have showcases featuring their graduating students; these are normally well attended by agents, and many aspiring young actors will secure representation as a result.

If you don't fall into this bracket, you may have to work a little harder to be seen by the right people; you may need to be prepared to do unpaid work in fringe productions or student films to give you a platform to showcase your talent.

What can I offer?

An actor's guide to getting work

The good news is that you don't need to waste your time writing thousands of letters to agents who are unlikely to be interested. Nowadays all good acting agencies have well-designed websites. My advice to anyone thinking of approaching an agent would be to scour their client list and try to find a gap for you. What is the unique selling point that you can offer that they're currently missing out on? It's not enough to be generically 'hard working' or 'passionate about the industry'. Do you have a specific accent that none of there current client list have? Are you unusual in the way you look? Can you breathe fire whilst on a uni-cycle? Seek out anything that makes you different and exploit it.

Also do some research about the individual agents who work there and approach only one of them to begin with; be personal and show you know their work in your initial contact.

Who are the best actors agents in London?

As an actor of some experience, I have run the gauntlet with agents. I've also produced a number of shows and dealt with London agents in the casting process. From my time and experience in the business, I have put together this list of whom I believe to be the 10 top actors agents in london. It is by no means definitive and it is vital that you do your own research when seeking representation. Why just London agents? Well, if you are an actor in the UK, that's where the majority of work is based. There are several good northern agents based in Manchester, but I don't feel qualified to recommend them as they are not on my radar of experience.

Big Hitters

These are five of the agents in London whose punch packs the most power. They deal with the top casting directors on the biggest and best paid jobs; major movies and TV, as well as a select amount of top class theatre work.

The positives are that they are connected and have the capability to put you in front of the right people to advance your career.

The downside is that you'll be a very small fish in a very big pond. They probably represent some major stars who will place demands on their time and energy. Will they have enough passion and drive left over to give you the push you need at the beginning of your career?

It's also fairly unlikely, if you're just starting out, that any of these guys will be greatly interested. There are exceptions; every year a handful of lucky graduates from the Conference of Drama Schools are plucked from obscurity by one of the big hitters. For everyone else, it's worth knowing who the most powerful actors agents in London are for the future.

Conway van Gelder Grant Ltd
Third floor 
8/12 Broadwick Street 
Tel: 020 7287 0077

Curtis Brown Group Ltd
Haymarket House
28-29 Haymarket
Tel: 020 7393 4401

Dalzell and Beresford
26 Astwood Mews
Tel: 020 7341 9412

International Artistes
4th Floor
Holborn Hall
193-197 High Holborn
Tel: 020 7404 9865

Markham, Froggatt & Irwin
4 Windmill Street
Tel: 020 7637 5233

Smaller, but perfectly formed

The great advantage with small or middling agents, or those who are newly established, is their passion and drive. You may not step straight into a leading role in a TV series, but you'll have room to grow and develop your talent, as your agent nurtures your career.

Bloomfields Management
77 Oxford Street
Tel: 020 7659 2101

Felix De Wolfe
Kingsway House
103 Kingsway
Tel: 020 7242 8119

Associated International Management (AIM)
Fairfax House
Fulwood Place
Tel: 020 7242 0810

Sally Hope Associates
108 Leonard Street
Tel: 020 7613 4848

Katie Threlfall Associates
2A Gladstone Road
SW19 1QT
Tel: 020 8543 7545

Other articles that may be of interest:

Which schools are in the Conference of Drama Schools?

How to Present an Audition Speech on the Day

Choosing the Right Audition Speech

Preparing an Audition Speech

20 Tips for Voice-over Success

How to Get Work as a Voice-over Artiste