The Coronation Street Casting Process

The Coronation Street Casting Process

Top British acting talent finds a home in Coronation Street, a British institution. Would you like to work with Katherine Kelly, Anna Friel, Sarah Lancashire, or Sir Ian McKellen? On Corrie’s cobblestone streets, they have all served their sentences. Many performers have found success on The Street, as it is lovingly called; William Roache, 89, made his onscreen debut in the soap opera’s debut episode in December 1960 and continues to appear on the show regularly to this day.

The Coronation Street Casting Process
The Coronation Street Casting Process

Millions of eager fans tune in to Coronation Street six days a week on ITV, so acting prowess is a must. The cast is varied, with members of all ages and skill levels. If you think Corrie sounds like your kind of show, Backstage has all the tips you need to ace the crucial audition.

What is Coronation Street?

The longest-running soap opera in the world is Coronation Street, or “continuous drama” as it is officially called. Corrie, a popular television series that features strong female characters, humour, and social realism, is set in the fictional northern town of Weatherfield, which is partially based on Salford in Manchester. Tony Warren, a writer and creator, desired to see his personal accounts of working-class life in the North represented on television back in 1960. After some time, the nascent Granada Television gave its consent, and the rest is history.

Narratives centre on the street’s occupants and their intricate personal and professional lives. For more than 10,000 episodes, beloved characters like Mike Baldwin, Bet Lynch, Ena Sharples, and Elsie Tanner have captivated viewers. The Queen has even paid a royal visit to Weatherfield’s well-known cobblestones.

The Street is still appreciated today for its realistic, gritty portrayal of northern life, but it has also included some very contemporary cliffhangers and massive, spectacular set pieces. Over its sixty-plus years, it has seen the collapse of viaducts, the burning down of the Rovers Return pub, the collision of trams, and numerous instances of love found in a knicker factory. There is all human life on the Street, which explains why Bill Roache has stayed for so long.

Which actors appear on Coronation Street?

The alumni of Corrie are quite the starry group, as we’ve already seen, and there are still many to add to the list. Before going on to feature in BBC successes Doctor Foster and Gentleman Jack, Suranne Jones lit up the cobbles for four years in her dazzling role as Karen McDonald. In 1973, model-turned-actor-turned-icon Joanna Lumley portrayed Ken Barlow’s lover Elaine. She told the Sun that she would return “in a heartbeat.” Sir Ben Kingsley, Michelle Keegan, Rob James Collier from Downton Abbey, and Monkee Davy Jones are among the other well-known figures who have spent time on the Street.

More than 80 actors, many of whom have been in Coronation Street for a long time, are currently listed as cast members on ITV. Cast members Alan Halsall (Tyrone), Simon Gregson (Steve McDonald) and Barbara Knox (Rita Tanner) have been together since 1998, 1989, and 1964, respectively. Mr. Roache, who has been Ken Barlow’s actor since the first episode of the show, is still the longest-serving member of the ensemble.

Is Coronation Street filmed where and when?

The majority of actors tend to follow their careers, and Coronation Street is primarily a Manchester production. The Street, which was filmed in MediaCityUK in Salford, features a permanent set that includes a stretch of terraced houses, a bar, a police station, a tram stop and even a bench honouring the victims of the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing.

To keep up with the show’s unrelenting broadcast schedule, filming is essentially ongoing.

How do you cast Coronation Street?

Casting directors (CDs) at Coronation Street are constantly searching for fresh talent, regardless of age. They conduct workshops, visit neighbourhood theatres, and go out in search of real, regional actors. The casting crew of Corrie saw Anne Kirkbride, who played Deirdre Barlow in the serial opera for many years, in a play at Oldham’s Coliseum Theatre. They are undoubtedly out and around because casting assistant Sophie Flanagan of Coronation Street tweeted about the team scouting at the Edinburgh Festival.

Generally speaking, they are searching for actors who have a Manchester accent and appearance. It may be necessary to practise your Manchester accent if you were raised in Windsor or Wales instead of Weatherfield. It’s also common sense, but it works: watch the show. Someone who is a fan of the show they are trying out for has an advantage in the audition process. Make it seem like you care by offering a few thoughtful asides about the newest plot or most attractive character.

Corrie is a master in developing new talent. They have a talent for identifying and developing young performers. Among the adult Corrie performers who started their Street careers as kids and are still there now are Alan Halsall, Jack P. Shepherd, and Jennie McAlpine..

Along with fellow Corrie star and twin brother William, child actor Isabella Flanagan, who portrays troublemaker Hope Stape in the serial opera, is a student at Ology Kids Casting Workshops. “Everyone at Corrie is lovely and friendly, and the canteen serves amazing food,” she said to Ology. It’s obvious that Ology is an agency with ties to the Street; if you have a gifted child with a Corrie-like fantasy, it might be worth checking out the casting workshops they often host.

The Oldham Theatre Workshop, dubbed the “Coronation Street Fame Factory” by the Manchester Evening News, is another venue to keep an eye out for opportunities to cast young actors. Suranne Jones, Antony Cotton, and Michael Le Vell all got their start in this Manc institution, and Millie Gibson, who portrayed Kelly Neelan, was spotted there. Operated by the public, it doesn’t require auditions and welcomes participants from any location; however, Oldham Council provides a subsidy to individuals residing in the Oldham postcode.

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Another organisation that feeds fresh talent into Corrie is the Bury-based Carol Godby Theatre Workshop, one of the biggest independent theatrical workshops outside of London. Many of their actors have appeared in public throughout the course of the past 25 years. Many notable Corrie alumni, including Helen Flanagan, Georgia May Foote, and Jennie McAlpine, began their careers there.

Corrie takes great satisfaction in being actively involved in the local theatre scene. Actors just starting out in their careers are encouraged to try the Street by the street’s stars and personnel, who are frequently spotted about. The Bradford Telegraph and Argus were informed by actor Liam Bairstow, who plays Alex and is the first actor with Down syndrome in the history of the soap opera, that he was observed during an ITV workshop.

I attended Breaking Through Talent last year with maybe fifteen other individuals, and I got to know a lot of the Corrie cast members. We gained experience working with various camera angles and performing in front of the camera. I was just aware of its nature as a workshop. A few months later, my mother and I were summoned to a meeting at the theatrical group Mind the Gap, where I was informed that I had been cast. I had a buzz!

How to appear in a Coronation Street audition

If your agency is good, they should be aware of any Coronation Street opportunities; if not, there are alternative methods to reach this busy crew. Investigate potential casting calls and keep a watch on Backstage for updates. Verify the quality of your headshots, resume, and showreel. Check out Backstage’s advise on self-tape procedures, and get in touch with the casting crew directly if you’d like.

The CDG website has Gennie Radcliffe’s contact information, who is the casting director for Corrie. You can reach the team via phone, email, or mail at Casting Department, ITV Coronation Street, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester M17 1FZ. Keep in mind that no one enjoys a haughty windbag, especially a busy casting director, so be kind and succinct.

Rick Laxton, a former Street CD, offered the following advice for contacting the casting team on Choice Management’s blog: “Emailing is a solid start! Give them all the information they require about you; limit it to pertinent data; keep it succinct and engaging to avoid losing their interest. It can also be beneficial to include any acting videos you may have in the email. The casting director may get inundated with emails, so try not to bother her too often. Sending an email more frequently than every few months is usually not necessary. The secret is patience.

Coronation Street has a very clear identity and a very loyal audience,” stated Janet Hampson, a CD on Corrie, on the Coronation Street Updates Blog. Thus, finding a new cast member that “fits” with our current ensemble is one of the most crucial decisions to make. It’s difficult to put into words, but we search a long time for folks that have the correct vibe. Naturally, we are searching for gifted actors that will add to the production, bring their unique talents to the table, and ideally have a deep passion for the performance.

“The process was the same as for all our new regulars; we write a character breakdown,” she said, describing the casting procedure for a single new character. This breakdown is posted on casting websites such as Backstage and Spotlight. After going over the submissions, we call the selected performers in for a preliminary audition in the office. After choosing a few to present to our producer, we talk about who should be invited for a screen test.

But when we are casting a new long-term role, the process begins with a casting department search and early auditions, followed by on-set screen tests with our cast. After editing, the screentests are sent to our creative directors and senior producers for their final approval. Coronation Street moves quickly, so I’m happy to report that those last choices never take too long.

Coronation Street audition advice

Casting director Joanne Moss, who has been with Corrie since 2007, shared her three best pieces of advice with actors preparing for a casting call with the Actors Lab: “Attire for the part: Don’t show up for an audition wearing a three-piece suit if you’re trying out for a mechanic position! If you felt that it didn’t go well, don’t be scared to ask to read again. Unless you have received the script beforehand, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to memorise the script while you read; instead, have it handy for reference.

It’s important for actors to learn how to deal with rejection, according to her: “Try not to be downhearted when you’re not successful in castings.” It’s not a guarantee that your talent was questioned; there could be a variety of explanations, such not matching with a cast member or being too young or old. It can even be that they are considering you for a different project in the future. Also, if you don’t succeed, get feedback.

sage advice that actress Georgia Taylor obviously took to heart. Though she admitted to Mandy that wasn’t the original plan, she played Toyah Battersby: “My role on Coronation Street was not the first part I auditioned for.” Four months later, I was given a second audition, this time for the Coronation Street part. Casting directors do not forget.

CD “The challenge is to cast every part with the same care as the long-term regulars,” concurs Janet Hampson. Every week, we cast, and I’m constantly searching for talented new performers for the production. Someone who gets our attention may find that they are promptly invited back.

That is undoubtedly the case, according to actor Nichola Thorp, who portrayed Nicola Rubinstein in the soap opera. “I originally auditioned for Coronation Street three years ago for a different part,” she said to Mandy. My agent handled everything, and they considered me for the Kate Connor role. After passing the screen test, I was thrilled to be cast in a part alongside Kym Marsh for The Rovers Return. I didn’t get the part, and I was quite worried. There were five other girls up for the screen test when I arrived for the audition, and one of them informed me that it was her fourth screen test and not to get my hopes up. Thus, I was ultimately turned down.

But I got along great with the casting directors, and they promised to contact me if something did come up that would work for me. When I was seen for Nicola two years later, that was the right moment for me. The girl who was mentioned in the initial audition was chosen to play a part for six episodes and is currently a new regular on the Street. The Corrie casting team will discover the ideal role for them if they see anything they like and meet people they think would be excellent to work with. The length of the position in Coronation Street seems to really illustrate that, in my opinion.

It is imperative to cast individuals who will get along well with one another.

Former Corrie star Angela Gryphon shared her best advice for that crucial audition with the Theatre Royal’s internal charity Masterclass. “A TV audition requires you to be completely prepared—you must know your lines by heart. Additionally, you must have a notion of what you hope to accomplish with the persona. Due of the extreme secrecy surrounding projects, you may not always receive the complete script, therefore you may need to make some adjustments. Enter the meeting as that persona as well. Consider their manner of dressing, their mindset, and their background. Put on clothing that the character would have on to look the part.

About the Author

mudasar Rafique
Mudassar Rafique, a seasoned journalist with 10 years of experience, excels in uncovering and delivering news with a keen eye for detail. Renowned for insightful analyses and a commitment to journalistic integrity, he contributes to reputable publications. Passionate about staying informed, Mudassar views his role as a professional and personal mission to engage global audiences.

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