The Abacus Agency manages a select group of Spotlight registered UK child actors and earns its income only from the commission of their working clients.
The Abacus Agency started more than 30 years ago. Its past and former clients include several prestigious names and a lot of young people we remember from popular shows and films. It was recommended by parents on the “Not A Pushy Mum” forum and so made it into our list of 20 Reputable UK Agencies For Child Actors.
Abacus do NOT represent babies or toddlers. They represent children and teenagers up to the age of 20.
There is a clear and comprehensive website but they don’t have a visible social media presence.
How To Apply To The Abacus Agency For An Agency Audition
There is a strict audition process, so the agency only takes on children they are sure will find work because of their mixture of looks, training, talent and personality. The books are only open for a short time so if you are considering this agency you will need to keep checking the website.
The first stage is to apply by the application deadline. If you miss that, your application is held by the agency until a later date when it is assessed for the next audition date.
Unusually, the Abacus Agency do not accept applications by email. It must be in writing. Your application must include the following:
- A covering letter including all your contact details (address, phone, email) and why your child would be a good fit for Abacus
- A clear recent photograph (it does not need to be a professional headshot)
- A CV showing your child’s
- date of birth
- height in feet and inches
- eye colour
- hair colour
- drama training
- membership of youth drama clubs or drama schools
- productions you have been in, including which part you played
- details of any professional credits
- additional skills – music, dancing, sports, hobbies
Send the application to: NEW CLIENT, Abacus Agency & ABA Management, Robert Denholm House, Bletchingley Road, Nutfield, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 4HW
When you are sending the application, check that you have included the correct postage. The agency will not pay additional postage costs and therefore won’t receive your application if you get this wrong.
All applications should receive an email response to confirm receipt.
About four weeks before the audition date the agency will review all applications they have received, and will notify you of their decision. You may receive a definite ‘no’, your child may be placed on a reserve list, or you will receive an invitation to the audition day.
The Agency Audition Day
Firstly, a group of children of a similar age takes part in a general workshop. Then, each child is seen individually by Sarah Morrison, who owns the agency, and a Musical Director. Each child performs a prepared poem or speech. They may perform a prepared song if they wish to demonstrate their singing skills.
Good agencies are looking to take on talented children, but they also look to fill gaps in their books and avoid duplicating similar clients. You must be patient when waiting for a decision.
What To Consider If Your Child IS Offered Representation By The Abacus Agency
Many parents think it is the end of a journey when their children are offered representation. The reality is that the hard work is about to begin. Understand the commitment that you are taking on, and only proceed if you are sure you, your child and the other members of the family are happy with the time and financial costs you are about to take on.
Make sure you read the terms and conditions before signing a contract.
Clients must have their professional headshots taken with Chris Hall or Philip Wade. Several times a year Chris Hall will visit the Abacus Agency offices so clients can update their headshots. They are uploaded to your child’s Spotlight profile. As is normal with the rest of the industry, the parents pay for the professional photos and the annual Spotlight subscription fee for their child.
The Abacus Agency does not charge any joining fee. They rely on your child obtaining work in order to obtain their commission of 10-20%. Their client list is easily accessible and shows a small and select group. These are the signs of a quality agency.
What To Do If Your Child Is Not Offered Representation By The Abacus Agency
Do not be disheartened by a ‘no’. It just means for this agency at this time. Rejection is a key part of the entertainment industry and something you and your child must be able to cope with.
There are amateur and student films happening around the country. Ask if your child can take part. It will provide experience, sometimes showreel, and an invaluable chance to create a local network.
Filming is not a fun and glamorous hobby in reality. It can involve hours of waiting for the setup and then repeating the same line six times or more. Those children that decide it’s still their passion are the ones that can show prospective agents that they are up to the rigours of a difficult and demanding industry.
Six years ago the Abacus Agency opened an adult division, called ABA Management. Like the Abacus Agency, it manages a small and selective client list. It represents actors aged 20 and over, allowing children to continue their agency relationship into adulthood.