Play Fair campaign
Incorporating the Variety Artistes' Federation
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We’re asking employers to Play Fair and comply with the law - specifically the Equality Act 2010 - which sets out how to conduct recruitment and selection fairly, as well as showing us how discrimination can be challenged.

In the entertainment and media world, while there are great efforts made by some, we still have processes of interviewing, casting and employing people that can often fall short when it comes to good and inclusive practice. We notice when:

  • Casting breakdowns ask for actual age instead of playing age - this can particularly discriminate against women
  • Sexual harassment is still common and experienced largely by women who are worried about challenging or reporting it.
  • Venues don’t make reasonable adjustments for disabled actors and staff - this can be illegal (see more in Access) and creates distress, frustration and avoidable barriers to career development.
  • Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) actors can be encouraged to ‘play it straight’ in audition conversations, in case their LGBT identity is not received well by the employee
  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) actors are often only considered for stereotypical roles which limit how far they can show their full potential

See Equity’s full Inclusive Casting Policy Statement for how we think some of these issues can be addressed and prevented.


Don’t…Ask for actual age of performers – casting calls should only refer to ‘playing age’.

Why? Because it is unlawful to ask an artists’ actual age before they are employed unless the information isn’t used in the decision-making process or is for monitoring purposes only. Women can especially miss out on work because of restrictions on actual age. Many performers can obviously play a range of ages.

Don’t… Ask if an actor is pregnant, or about any illnesses or conditions they may have at or before an audition, unless you have a specific reason to be concerned that there may be a health and safety risk, or there are legitimate insurance issues for this particular job.

Why? Because it is unlawful to ask questions about pregnancy, health or disability, before someone is actually employed to do a job unless the legitimate concerns can be evidenced.