Next Generation Showcase Panel 2017

The Business of Casting

Next Generation Showcase 2017 Panel Discussion
Sunday, January 16th, 2017
7:30pm to 9:00pm

All Showcase participants are invited to join us following the networking party for a discussion about the business of casting in the entertainment industry. We will be joined by a group of esteemed professionals, all working in theatre, film or television, who will discuss their artistic journeys; the challenges that exist in the industry, and tips for navigating the ever-evolving world of early-career acting. Bring your most burning questions!

This panel discussion will be moderated by Elley-Ray.

Natalie Ackers, Marjorie Chan, David Connolly, and Sandie Newton will join us as panelists.

Moderator: Elley-Ray

Elley-RayElley-Ray is an international, award-winning actress, writer, director and producer who has been in over 275 productions. She is currently playing Margaret Thatcher in The Death of Mrs Gandhi and is voicing a new gaming series, Shuyan. Most recently Elley shot an eight-part mini-series in Russia called Insomnia, filmed the feature film The Hive, played Bunny in Damn Tank at Factory, and voiced animation leads on My Little Pony, The Bagel and Becky Show, Little Charmers, The Wide World of Wandering Wenda, and Geronimo. Elley also recently received an Honorary Doctorate for her 35 year contributions to Humanities and the Arts from the University of Windsor, and the dressing rooms at Buddies were named after her for her 20-year board services. She is currently publishing her second book of inspirations (first called Butterfly Kisses) called Fly With Eagles.


Panelist: Natalie Ackers

Ackers_NatalieNatalie is the Managing Director of Necessary Angel Theatre Company, considered to be one of English Canada’s most vital creation and touring organizations. Natalie has managed over fifty tours in her roles as Managing Director of Roseneath Theatre, Touring and Company Manager of Green Thumb Theatre, and Vice President, Touring of Kids’ Entertainment and Artistic Producer of Acropolis Theatre. She has sat on the Board of Directors for the Toronto Alliance for Performing Arts and the International Performing Arts for Youth and has served on committees for the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) and the International Society for Performing Arts, where she participated in a three-year Fellowship program. Recently, Natalie was awarded the Mallory Gilbert Leadership Protégé Award.

@Natackers / @NecessaryAngel

Panelist: Marjorie Chan

Chan_MarjorieMarjorie is a multi-disciplinary theatre artist. A six-time nominee, Marjorie is the recipient of three Toronto Dora Awards, one for acting (Outstanding Performance) and two for writing (Outstanding New Opera). In 2005, she was named the K.M. Hunter Theatre Artist, an Ontario-wide award for mid-career artists. Marjorie was previously Associate Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre as well as Artist-in-Residence at Cahoots, Theatre Direct Canada, Tapestry Opera, SUNY (Geneseo, New York), Theatre du Pif (Hong Kong). Marjorie is currently Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre.

@magicalmudge / @CahootsTheatre

Panelist: David Connolly

Connolly_DavidDavid Connolly is the Associate Artistic Director at Drayton Entertainment, one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit professional theatre companies. In 2017, they will produce 17 productions on seven stages in Southwestern Ontario. Last year for Drayton, David was the director/choreographer of the regional premiere production of Mamma Mia!, Aladdin: The Panto, Red Rock Diner and Cinderella as well as choreographer of the world premiere of Marathon of Hope: The Terry Fox Story. This year, he will direct and choreograph Footloose, Singin' In The Rain, Lucky Stiff and Honk! David made his Broadway debut at age 19 after graduating the Music Theatre Performance Program at Sheridan College where he received The Premier of Ontario’s Award of Excellence in Applied Arts.

@DavidConnollyTO / @drayton_theatre

Panelist: Sandie Newton

Newton_SandieBritish born Sandie Newton is one of North America's top Agent/managers with nearly 4 decades of experience in the entertainment industry also working in recording studios and agencies both in U.K and Canada now heads two firms in Toronto - The Edward G. Agency (Established in 1980) and Newton Landry Management (Opened in 2000) managing both stage actors,voice over artists, singers/recording artists, musicians, composers, directors and musical directors. She has provided and cast both actors, singers and voices for major Broadway and West End shows,  movies, animated series, networks and commercial campaigns and has over the years watched many talented artists' careers blossom representing top  performers and voice talent both in Canada, N.Y. and L.A.


NOTE: Due to a family emergency, Sandie Newton was unable to attend our panel.  Thank you to Emma Laird of Gary Goddard Agency and Millie Tom of Millie Tom Casting who stepped in for her. 

For More Information

Contact Rachel Kennedy, Professional Theatre and Education Manager, at or 416.408.4556 x.12


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