Landing an agent can often be seen as a huge milestone for an up-and-coming actor, but not all agencies are created equal. In fact, whilst many actors believe that “any agent is better than no agent,” I have a different opinion.
Talent agencies can come in many forms and sizes, with varying levels of experience, expertise, connections, and ways of working. And whilst there are benefits to signing with smaller agents, you definitely don’t want to sign with an agent that has a bad reputation. So with hundreds to choose from, it can often be confusing or overwhelming when first researching talent agents to apply to.
So in this blog post I’m going to be listing 12 of the top talent agencies in London that all actors should be aware of. It’s worth noting that the idea of a “best agency” is subjective, as all actors have their own personal preferences for what’s important in an agent. (I’m personally represented by a small boutique agency in London that’s not on this list, as I like the personability of being with a smaller agency.)
Originally founded in 1970, Independent Talent Group is not only one of the biggest talent agencies in the UK, but the world. Independent represents A-List stars from multiple areas of the industry including top-class actors, casting directors, producers & their production companies, directors, writers, presenters, comedians and many other creatives from behind the scenes.
As you can imagine, this can be a major benefit for any talent on their books. By representing professionals in all areas of the industry, Independent is in a unique position to package productions in-house, and connect talent internally.
Independent is a bohemeth in the industry, with over 1,900 clients listed on IMDbPro, repped by a whopping 29 talent agents, 27 literary agents, 6 below the line agents and 2 voice over agents.
But with that being said, they don’t just represent already established veterans in the industry. Independent also represents a plethora of up-and-coming talent like Corey Mylchreest who’s recently shot to fame after playing Young King George in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.
Actors represented by Independent: Patrick Stewart, Gillian Anderson, Daniel Craig, Colin Firth, Asa Butterfield, Sophie Turner, Anthony Hopkins, Sam Claflin, Jason Isaacs, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bill Nighy, David Tennant.
Founded in 2013, 42 Management & Production is a relatively new talent agency that took the industry by storm. Whilst a talent agency with over a hundred years of history, experience and a strong reputation is an asset in it’s own right, 42’s modern approach has resulted in their rapid success.
The clue to 42’s approach is in their name, “Management & Production.” With 27 Managers/Agents representing over 600 clients, they’re able to foster rich working relationships with their clients in order to build their careers to the next level. And with a dedicated development team of experienced producers, 42 isn’t just a talent agency, they’re a production company that produces high-concept film, television and other digital content.
They do this by representing actors, directors, comedians, presenters, producers, casting directors and even handle book rights. This allows them to produce hits like The Courier, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2020. The Silent Twins, starring and produced by actress Letitia Wright and premiered at the legendary Cannes Film Festival and the Netflix movie, The Weekend Away.
Despite the success of 42 Management & Production, they are still growing very quickly, and are in place to continue to grow rapidly over the coming years. With offices in London and Los Angeles, they’re in a great position to produce content that has a global appeal, aswell as introduce their talent to international audiences. It’s clear that 42 M&P are focused on developing their talent whilst growing alongside them. 42 M&P will undoubtedly be a big player in fostering the future stars of the industry.
Actors represented by 42 Management & Production: Michael Caine, Ralph Fiennes, Sofia Boutella, Rhys Ifans, Nicholas Hoult, Indira Varma, Ed Skrein, Jamie Campbell Bower, Tom Sturridge, Zachary Quinto, Himesh Patel.
Curtis Brown Group is easily the oldest agency on this list. Founded in 1899, they have well over 100 years of experience representing talent and have secured their place as one of the oldest and most respected agencies, not just in London, but in the world.
Initially started as a literary agency, Curtis Brown has slowly expanded into representation of talent across the entire entertainment industry. In 2022, Curtis Brown Group was acquired by the Los Angeles based United Talent Agency (UTA), not to be mistaken for the british United Agents. UTA is objectively one of the largest and most influential talent agencies in the world, and including their subsidiaries, they are definitely the largest.
Deadline has reported that UTA “will not alter the Curtis Brown model” and Variety quoted UTA in saying that “the union is driven by a shared desire to ensure greater opportunities for clients across an increasingly global entertainment and culture landscape.” By being a part of Curtis Brown Group, you will have the double benefit of being part of a talent agency with a rich heritage and legendary reputation, aswell as potential for international exposure through their parent company.
Curtis Brown mentions on their website that they have over 220 members of staff, including 33 agents and co-agents; and according to IMDbPro, they represent over 1,200 clients in film & television. Since they started as a literary agency, they also represent over 1,400 authors and often sell their book rights to be adapted into screen and theatre productions, that often feature there own talent.
Recent examples of work adapted from books includes Oscar & BAFTA nominated, The Quiet Girl starring Catherine Clinch, who’s represented by Curtis Brown. And Litvinenko, a mini series starring David Tennant (who’s represented by both Curtis Brown parent company, UTA & Independent Talent).
Actors represented by Curtis Brown Group: Robert Pattinson, Ncuti Gatwa, Adjoa Andoh, Joseph Quinn, Stellan Skarsgård, Mia Goth, David Tennant, Iwan Rheon, Edyta Budnik, Stanley Tucci, Ella Purnell, Patrick Gibson, Lydia Wilson, Harry Melling, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Daniel Mays
The Artists Partnetship is located in Soho; which is known as “one of the main entertainment districts” in London. Founded in the late 1970s, The Artists Partnership has quickly become one of the UK’s leading boutique agencies.
TAP has a client-list of over 500 actors, and whilst this makes them smaller than the likes of Independent or Curtis Brown, you’d be wrong to call them small. In fact, their medium size is a massive asset, as it allows them to focus on developing strong agent-client relationships, whilst also being big enough to be recognised internationally.
Whilst The Artists Partnership is a boutique agency, meaning they’re specialised in what they offer; over the year’s they’ve slowly expanded into other areas in order to offer their clients a full management package. On their website they mention that their primary focuses are artist management, development and production and literary rights.
That being said, TAP offers representation to a slightly more focused group of talent. This includes actors, voice actors, writers, directors, casting directors and a small list of miscellaneous talent. This means that they still have the benefit of having direct relationships with casting directors, including Sophie Holland (The Witcher, Wednesday, You & Shadow and Bone), but are able to stay focused in what they offer.
Actors represented by The Artists Partnership: Emily Blunt, Regé-Jean Page, Idris Elba, Lucy Liu, Willem Dafoe, David Thewlis, James Norton, Olivia Cooke, Michael Socha, Anya Chalotra, Catherine Tate
United Agents was initially founded in 2007 after 35 agents handed in their notice at the infamous “Peter Fraser and Dunlop” agency, and decided to start their own; united in their own ideas. (Pretty good name, huh?) Out of the gate, they started by representing talent such as Ricky Gervais and Ewan McGregor, who were previously represented by PFD. The Guardian described them as a “Super-Agency” with the idea of replicating the style of agencies in the US by creating its own content.
Although United Agents is still relatively new within the industry, the agents at UA are all but inexperienced. With years of knowledge and worldwide industry connections, they’re extremely well-established and knowledgeable and for this reason, it’s no surprise how fast they’ve grown.
At a glance, United Agents seems to cover more areas of the industry than any other agency on this list. With 92 agents, representing well over 1,600 clients and departments dedicated to actors, books, comedy, commercials, digital, film, tv & theatre, presenters, voiceover, playwrights, screenwriters, directors, producers, composers and so many more! They even have departments dedicated to PR and “book to film” agreements.
United Agents now represents many of the top talent in the industry with so many household names, it’s impossible to list them all. But they don’t just represent established talent. Agencies like UA will usually represent a large number of well established talent, but will also dedicate resources to up and coming talent, and often promising drama school graduates, with the hope that they will one day become stars.
Actors represented by United Agents: Tom Hardy, Kate Winslet, Taron Egerton, Keira Knightley, Kit Harrington, Nick Mohammed, Natalie Dormer, James McAvoy, Olivia Colman, Luke Evans, Clémence Poésy, Eddie Redmayne, Bonnie Wright
Identity Agency Group is an extremely interesting talent agency that’s gained notoriety over the last few years, as they’re a lot more than just an agency. Identity Agency Group also runs a well established drama school. Identity School of Acting has bases in London & Los Angeles and even has ties to Netflix and Audible with their scholarships.
Identity was founded “as a response to the lack of diversity across Screen, Television and Film.” And although they do represent non-minorities, their primary aim is to increase diversity. With a division dedicated to developing new talent, many of whom are recruited from their award-winning drama school, many of their clients and alumni have reached heights they could never have imagined.
With stars like John Boyega studying at Identity, then getting signed to IAG, before going on to play lead in Star Wars along with many other great films. Aswell as Letitia Wright who would eventually be cast in Marvel’s Black Panther. Time and time again we see Identity’s clients and graduates hitting Hollywood by storm.
Actors represented by Identity Agency Group: John Boyega, Letitia Wright, David Gyasi, Simone Ashley, T’Nia Miller, Fola Evans-Akingbola, Ruth Connell, Chance Perdomo, Melanie Liburd, Saïd Taghmaoui, Indra Ové, Andrew Lowe, Angela Yeoh, Varada Sethu, Priya Kansara, Natasha Culzac
B-Side Management & Production is the newest agency on this list. Set up in 2020 by Kate Morrison (previously an agent at Troika), Matimba Kabalika (Talent Development Manager for BFI & agent at Troika) & Sarah Stephenson.
Despite B-Side being new to the industry, they already represent some of the biggest names around. From comedy stars like Matt Berry, to multi-award winning actors like Daniel Kaluuya. They even represent the 11th and 12th Doctors (Matt Smith & Peter Capaldi), I wonder if they have a Tardis?
B-Side specialises in personalised talent management. Since they represent less than 100 actors and a handful of casting directors, producers, writers and directors, they’re able to provide a hands on approach to developing talent. According to Deadline, “B-Side Production is currently developing a slate of film and TV projects with a focus on emerging talent and under-represented voices.”
This means that although they represent many big names, they’re also focused on developing emerging talent. And with B-Side Production attached to the agency and B-Side Management already representing casting directors, producers, writers and directors, they’re able to build their talent, their production company and their agency hand-in-hand.
Actors represented by B-Side Management & Production: Joe Cole, Jenna Coleman, Peter Capaldi, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Tom Burke, Daniel Kaluuya, David Morrissey, Julianne Nicholson, Michael Smiley, Matt Smith, Olly Alexander, Matt Berry, Juno Temple, Sean Harris, Oona Chaplin, Brett Goldstein
Founded by Jeremy Conway and Nicola Van Gelder to form what was initially known as Conway Van Gelder; they would eventually be joined by John Grant to form the current Conway van Gelder Grant (also known as CVGG).
With over 50 years of experience, CVGG exclusively represents actors, casting directors, directors and writers. With 17 agents representing over 300 actors, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Helen Bonham Carter and Bella Ramsey, it’s easy to see why CVGG claim to be “at the forefront of the international entertainment industry”.
But they don’t stop there. CVGG also runs a Campaigns department that focuses on finding their talent brand deals, a Documentaries department with decades worth of credits, allowing their talent further exposure in the industry and opportunities to connect on a personal level with fans and a dedicated Commercials department. This means that CVGG are able to provide a well rounded offering for those lucky enough to work with them.
Actors represented by Conway van Gelder Grant: Benedict Cumberbatch, Helen Bonham Carter, Bella Ramsey, Freddy Carter, Zoë Wanamaker, Alex Lawther, Jack Lowden, Aimee-Ffion Edwards, David Harewood, Noma Dumezweni, Tobias Menzies, Jonathan Bailey, Joanne Froggatt
Hamilton Hodell is a smaller agency with a big vision. At first glance, it’s easy to notice that as well as representing UK talent, they also act as British agents to many well established hollywood stars, providing them exposure to opportunities in the UK. But whilst they represent many household names, they’re also open to representing smaller, up and coming clients.
With 13 agents and associates representing just over 200 clients, they’re able to provide a personalised approach to talent management. Each agent has years of experience in multiple areas of the industry, allowing a great deal of specialty throughout the agency.
Founded in 1996, Hamilton Hodell focuses predominantly on the representation of actors, but they also represent a number of well established casting directors including Kelly Valentine Hendry (Bridgerton, Broadchurch & Gangs of London) and Kahleen Crawford (His Dark Materials, I Daniel Blake). This is clearly extremely beneficial.
They also provide their clients exposure to voice over castings and opportunities through their sister agency hhush, allowing their talent to expand into crucial commercial and voice acting opportunities.
Actors represented by Hamilton Hodell: Will Poulter, Ezra Miller, Vanessa Kirby, Tilda Swinton, Emma Thompson, Rose Leslie, Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Tom Ellis, Rupert Grint, Ben Whishaw, Gemma Whelan, Michael C. Hall, Stephen Fry, Connor Swindells
Representing just under 200 actors, Markham, Froggat and Irwin could be considered one of the smaller agencies on this list. Although it’s impossible to ignore their long-standing and well-established reputation as despite their size, MFI is a leading agency and a name that is recognised around the world.
Founded in 1960 by agent Alex Irwin, (unlike many other agencies on this list) they focus exclusively on what they do best, representing actors. They boast a small team of 6 experienced agents dedicated to finding work for their talent within Film, Television, Theatre, Voice, Commercial and Radio.
In 2020, after a long-standing friendship and collaboration, MFI became a part of The Curtis Brown Group, which is known as one of the oldest and most well-established talent agencies in the world, allowing their talent further opportunities in the future.
Actors represented by Markham, Froggatt and Irwin: Lily-Rose Depp, Theo James, Joel Edgerton, Damian Lewis, Andrew Lincoln, Tim Roth, Mark Strong, Amanda Plummer, Rory Kinnear, Eddie Marsan, Babs Olusanmokun, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Leanne Best, Naomi Watts, Sarah Michelle Gellar
Tavistock Wood, founded in 2005 by Angharad Wood & Charles Collier is a sophisticated, boutique Talent & Literary Agency. In their own words, they “represent and advise artists of outstanding talent and international reputation.”
Being a boutique agency, they’re naturally very specific with the talent they represent. Because of this, there 7 agents are able to take a “client-focused” approach to representing around 120 actors, along with a small selection of writers and directors. Among these are Rebecca Ferguson (The Greatest Showman, Mission Impossible) & Lily James (Cinderella, Baby Driver).
That being said, Tavistock Wood isn’t just dedicated to the already famous. Due to their low actor-agent ratio and their client-focused approach, they’re able to represent lesser-known and up-and-coming talent and help them build thriving careers within the entertainment industry.
Similarly to Martin, Froggatt & Irwin they’re backed by The Curtis Brown Group, giving them access to a “wider group that allows their clients to benefit from combined strength, comprehensive business infrastructure, extended opportunity and strategic leverage.”
Actors represented by Tavistock Wood Management: Rebecca Ferguson, Dustin Hoffman, Lily James, Russell Brand, Alicia Vikander, Charles Dance, Rebel Wilson, Daniel Brühl, Eva Green, Nick Nolte, Samantha Morton, Freddie Fox, Liv Tyler, Dominic West, Haley Bennett, Sam Riley
With just 4 agents representing a little over 60 clients, Artists Right Group (also known as ARG) is the smallest agency on this list. Given their size, you’d be forgiven for intially overlooking them. But on closer inspection, you’ll very quickly see that there’s more to the story.
Artists Right Group claim that they provide “highly individual personal management for its elite list of creative talent and has an unrivalled reputation for building and sustaining successful careers.” Now that’s a claim! And looking at their client list, they sure do back it up. Representing top talent like Liam Neeson, Daniel Radcliffe & Freddie Highmore to name just a few.
By taking a look at the credits and experience of each of their clients, you can see that they’ve all been able to build thriving careers within the industry. Whether they’re notorious leads and househould names, or relatively unknown outside of the industry, but have built a thriving career working consistently within smaller roles in bigger projects.
Founded in 2001, ARG is also a part of the wider Avalon Group, a “global, integrated talent management and production company” with offices in London, Los Angeles & New York that represents over 1,000 clients across their three agencies (ARG, Avalon Management & The Agency) and also engages in production and distribution. So whilst ARG is small in size, they boast very real connections globally.
Actors represented by Artists Right Group: Liam Neeson, Daniel Radcliffe, John Hannah, Paul Anderson, Ioan Gruffudd, Lesley Manville, James Nesbitt, Adam Godley, Emilia Jones, Joely Richardson, Imelda Staunton, Toby Jones