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Hosted by Kate Coogan

Actor, Writer, Director and Lecturer

Back by popular demand! Kate was brilliant at our last conference so we, of course, had to have her back! PG advised! 

Kate Coogan is an actor who has worked extensively in theatre productions at the Royal Exchange, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Bolton Octagon, Oldham Coliseum to name a few. She has also worked in Radio, Tv and Film, projects such as: Nothern Soul, Attack of the Killer Babies, Hollyoaks, Emmerdale, Cold Feet, No Offence, Moving on, Holby City and many more. Kate is a resident director at the Academy of Live and Recording Arts and is often a visiting director in top drama schools across the UK. 

In Conversation with Mike Leigh OBE

We talk live with BAFTA-winning, Oscar-Nominated Director Mike Leigh about his career and his unique way of working with actors. We will be asking Mike to give his golden nuggets of advice for actors approaching auditions and working on set for big projects. Followed by an audience Q&A, this is one not to be missed! 


Writer-director Mike Leigh trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Camberwell and Central Art Schools in London, and at the London Film School.

His first feature film was Bleak Moments (1971); this was followed by the full- length television films, Hard Labour (1973), Nuts in May (1975), The Kiss of Death (1976), Who’s Who (1978), Grown-Ups (1980), Home Sweet Home(1982), Meantime (1983), and Four Days In July (1984).

Other feature films are High Hopes (1988), Life Is Sweet (1990), Naked (1993)), Secrets and Lies (1996), Career Girls (1997), Topsy-Turvy (1999), All Or Nothing (2002), Vera Drake (2004) Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) Another Year (2010) Mr. Turner (2014) and Peterloo (2018).

He has written and directed over twenty stage plays. These include Babies Grow Old (1974), Abigail’s Party (1977), Ecstasy (1979), Goose-Pimples (1981), Smelling A Rat (1988), Greek Tragedy (1989), It’s A Great Big Shame! (1993),Two Thousand Years (2005) and Grief (2011).

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Casting Director Round Table

With Casting Director Isabella Odoffin and Victor Jenkins

An in-depth discussion that focuses on auditioning for theatre and recorded media. We discuss audition tips from selftapes to final recalls, marketing yourself, and making the best impression. Followed by an audience Q&A.

'Isabella Odoffin has just been awarded with a Casting Director Recognition Award by the BBTAs and recently named one of the ‘Screen International Stars of Tomorrow 2019’ and was a CDG Award Winner for ‘Best Theatre Casting’ of ‘Small Island’ at the National Theatre, 2020. Isabella has cast many great productions at the NT which include: Small Island,‘Master Harold’… And The Boys and A Taste Of Honey. She also works extensively in TV and Film casting Jason Lei Howden’s action comedy ‘Guns Akimbo’, Ben Bond’s Brexit-era romance ‘The Drifters’ and ‘Blue Story’ the feature adaptation of Rapman's YouTube short film.  Isabella cast 'Sweet Maddie Stone' directed by Brady Hood which won British/Irish short film of the tear 2016; HAIR CUT directed by Koby Adom with won the London Calling Plus Award and BIFA award winning THE BITTER SEA directed by Fateme Ahmadi. Isabella was also a Associate/Assistant on other projects such as: Mary Queen of Scots, Pan, The Favourite, The Negotiator, Jawbone,This Beautiful Fantastic, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Strike Back and many more!'

'With a career spanning 17 years, Victor started out assisting Lucinda Syson on Wolfgang Petersen’s ‘Troy' and Oliver Stone’s ‘Alexander', quickly followed by Assisting Sam Chandley on Indie hit ‘It’s All Gone Pete Tong’. From there he moved into television and became a Casting Director in his own right at age 25, taking over the helm at Sky One’s flagship dramas 'Dream Team' and 'Mile High'. When those shows came to their natural end 3 years later, he decided that he needed broader experience and went on to become Associate to the late Carrie Hilton, and then Gary Davy. In 2010 he started VHJ Casting with friend and fellow Casting Director Kelly Valentine Hendry, working on multiple award winning shows such as ‘Broadchurch', ‘Fleabag', 'The Wrong Mans', ‘Episodes', ‘Humans', 'The Last Kingdom', and ‘Grantchester', as well as features 'Grabbers', ‘Brotherhood', 'Access All Areas', and UK casting on Disney’s 'Muppets Most Wanted' and 'Into The Woods'. In 2017 it was time to go it alone again and solo credits include 'Troy: Fall Of A City', 'The Rook', 'Clean Break', 'The Split', ‘Unforgotten', 'Dark Money', 'World On Fire', upcoming series ‘Innocent' and ‘Viewpoint' for ITV, 'Leonardo' for Italy’s Rai, as well as the recent hit true crime drama ‘Des' with long time collaborator, Director Lewis Arnold. In 2019 another joint venture began, so along side the solo work he works in partnership with Andy Brierley CDG as The Casting Office Ltd. Together they have worked on 'The Watch' for BBC America, the just released second season of 'The Spanish Princess' for Starz, and are currently working on a new series for C4 developed by Peter Kosminsky, all excellently aided by their Associate (and exciting up and coming Casting Director) Seth Mason.'


Writing and creating your own work 

With playwright John Godber OBE 

John Godber gives his top tips on writing and creating your own work - from ideas, dialogue, characters and structure.

John’s plays are performed across the world. He has the distinction of being one of the most performed writers in the English language. He has won numerous awards for his plays, including a Laurence Olivier Award and seven Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards. His plays include: Bouncers, Up ‘n’ Under, April in Paris, Teechers, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Cramp, Happy Jack, September in the Rain, Salt of the Earth, Passion Killers, Happy Families, Up ‘n’ Under ll, Gym and Tonic, Dracula, Lucky Sods, Hooray for Hollywood, Weekend Breaks, It Started With a Kiss, Unleashed, Thick As a Brick, Big Trouble in the Little Bedroom, Seasons in the Sun, On a Night Like This, Our House, Departures, Men of the World, Reunion, Screaming Blue Murder, Black Ties and Tales, Perfect Pitch, Going Dutch, Christmas Crackers and Crown Prince.

Within his extensive career in writing and directing in TV and film, John also devised the BBC2 series Chalkface, and his screenplay My Kingdom for a Horse, starring Sean Bean, was nominated for an Alternative BAFTA Award. John’s first feature film, Up ‘n’ Under, was released in January 1998. In 2005, he cowrote Odd Squad for BBC2 with his wife, Jane, which was shot in Hull using local actors. Odd Squad won two British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards in the Schools Drama category and in the BAFTA Original Writer section.


John has an MA from Leeds University, an hon DLitt from Hull University, an hon DLitt from Lincoln University, a DUni for the Open University and was a PHD research student for five years at Leeds University.

He is a professor of contemporary theatre at Liverpool Hope University, a visiting professor of drama at Hull University, a professor at Sheffield Hallam University, a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a fellow of Regents University, London.


John was Artistic Director of Hull Truck for 26 years, taking it from bankruptcy in 1984 to its new home in a £15 million theatre in 2010. In 2011, he set up The John Godber Company with his playwright wife, Jane, and formed a partnership with Theatre Royal Wakefield to produce two tours of his work each year.

Since then his plays have continued to tour the UK and have been seen by over 100,000 people.'


The Secrets to Industry Networking

Emotional Intelligence Group are responsible for training MI5/MI6, Scotland Yard, FBI, European Sky Marshalls, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and now you, the actors. This session will help you to present the best of yourself - to maximise your chances of success by connecting and making an impression with key decision-makers.  It will cover top tips on engaging and interacting with Industry at auditions, press nights, on-the-job, and social settings. 
The EIA group will leverage some practical techniques used from our training of undercover intelligence agents to engage and influence a person of interest. You can apply this with Directors, Casting Directors, Agents, Producers, Writers, and other Actors. 
You will learn how to:
        1.      Break the ice using an online small-talk app
        2.      Develop rapport using your voice and body 
        3.      Engage others with “PERFECT” elicitation techniques
        4.      Get noticed and remembered by using influencing techniques
        5.      Follow up and leverage your networking successes.



The Physical Actor & Building a Successful Theatre Company 

With Frantic Assembly Artistic Director Scott Graham

We talk to Scott Graham about 'The Physical Actor' discussing an actor's relationship to their physicality/movement, performance, and text. Scott tries to encourage a greater understanding of the actor’s physical potential. This is essentially for awareness, listening, and the ability of the audience to read movement. Over the years Scott's technique has helped performers understand how their bodies tell stories and how those bodies are capable of strength and nuance they might not have recognized before. We will also touch on how and why Scott set up Frantic Assembly and what it's like to run a successful theatre company. This will be followed by audience Q&A.


'Scott is Artistic Director of Frantic Assembly, co-founding the company in 1994. He has received nominations for his work on Beautiful Burnout (Drama Desk Award, New York), Curious Incident (Olivier, Tony and Fred Astaire Awards). With Steven Hoggett he won the TMA Award (now UK Theatre Awards) for Best Direction for Othello. 

He has provided movement direction for shows at the Royal National Theatre, National Theatre Wales and Singapore Rep. He has developed and written extensively about The Frantic Method. With Steven Hoggett, he has written The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre (Routledge) and is Visiting Professor in Theatre Practice at Coventry University. 

Scott is passionate about creating opportunities for people who might see theatre as a challenge or alienating, and believes that these new voices and fresh perspectives are vital to the health of the arts sector.'


Morning Midfulness with Eryn Barber 

Start the conference in a good headspace 

Eryn will take us through a guided morning mindfulness workshop so we start the day right! 

'Eryn has been teaching yoga and Personal Training for +4 years, bringing movement and wellbeing into peoples life. Her main focus is on helping everyday people move better and feel stronger, both mentally and physically'.

What people said about our last conference 


"A brilliant event by Do or Die Studios for the Actor Conference today! Great to hear from agents and Casting Directors, the do's and dont's of the industry. Kate Coogan should have her own show... does she? Does she have her own show... I'd bloody watch it!"

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"I'm at the Do or Die studios conference... the round table discussion was the most in-depth breakfdown of this dimension of the business that ive seen/heard. The interactive presentation which then merged with Q&A was impressive, informative and on point."

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"Well that was a thing wasn't it! Do or Die Studios Conference was interesting, productive and some sound words. Great event, lots of lovely folk and brilliantly hosted!"

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