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Casarotto Ramsay & Associates appoints Bridge06’s Sara Johnson and Julie Fernandez as it expands its commitment to Disability Representation

(L-R Sara Johnson, Julie Fernandez. Image credits to Adam Lawrence & David Proud)

  • Leading creatives Sara Johnson and Julie Fernandez join Casarotto Ramsay & Associates as they expand their industry leading work to improve Disability Representation for the Film, TV, Theatre & broader entertainment Industries
  • The founders of Bridge06 have been working together since 2021 to bring an ‘Access First Approach’ to the Media & Entertainment industries and will become Casarotto Agents, as they continue in their industry-leading work to make meaningful change
  • Founded in 1989, Casarotto Ramsay & Associates is a fiercely independent agency with an illustrious history, and represents many of the world’s best-known writers, directors, creatives, literary properties and Heads of Departments in film, theatre, television, and new media

LONDON (28 November 2023) — Leading theatre, film and television agency Casarotto Ramsay & Associates has today announced the appointments of industry creative Sara Johnson and pioneering access coordinator and actor Julie Fernandez, co-founders of Bridge06, as it expands its commitment to disability representation across the UK Creative Industries.

Becoming full-time Casarotto Ramsay and Associates Agents, Johnson and Fernandez will continue in their industry defining work at the heart of the Casarotto family. Beginning 4th December, Johnson and Fernandez will represent, train and develop talent, supporting all those with access requirements across the film, television and theatre industries. Working closely with Casarotto’s HOD team, they will grow careers and create meaningful change with every production their Access Coordinators work within.

As one of the first pioneering Access Coordinators herself, Fernandez will lead on training and then representation for the raft of new Access Coordinators coming into the industry, ensuring that Casarotto are able to meet the growing demand for this vital role, which begins in development, runs throughout production and beyond.

In partnership with representing Access Coordinators, Johnson will continue her industry-wide work, leveraging the expertise and reach of Casarotto Ramsay & Associates to continue building meaningful change in the UK creative industries. Johnson will lead on supporting broadcasters, studios, theatres and other industry bodies to both underscore and understand the importance of an Access First approach, and ensure a cohesive, collaborative industry approach in this critical area.

With these appointments, Casarotto Ramsay & Associates is further strengthening its commitment to representing, developing and supporting talent, inclusive of all Access Requirements across the film, television, theatre and entertainment industries. The agency already represents a range of leading (DDN) disabled, d/Deaf and neurodiverse talent including Jack Thorne, Genevieve Barr, Daneka Etchells, Annalisa Dinnella, Justin Edgar, Hope Dickson Leach, Ted Evans, Julia Jackman, Rupert Jones, and Rebekah Fortune.

Anna Higgs, Managing Director, Casarotto Ramsay & Associates said, “Casarotto has always represented the most exceptional talent in the most inclusive ways, and as such we have strong disabled, d/Deaf and neurodiverse representation in our client list. Talking to Sara and Julie about their work to date and their ambitious vision for continuing to build an Access First industry presented an exciting opportunity to literally put our money where our mouth is and bring these exceptional industry experts and advocates into the team.”

“While some might simply host such a company, we at Casarotto felt it would be much more meaningful to fully integrate the training, consultancy and representation offer into the heart of our business. The innovative bespoke approach of Casarotto is why I joined the Agency, and I’m really proud that this is the first big evolution to our team. Being part of the BAFTA Awards Review in 2020, I heard powerful testimony on the critical issues facing disabled, d/Deaf and neurodiverse talent in front of and behind the camera, on and off stage, and to be a part of supporting meaningful commercial and creative change in this space is at once an honour and a no-brainer,” continued Higgs.

Sara Johnson said “Our creative industries play a significant part in reflecting and shaping our societies, and they can only do that if we have inclusive and representative practitioners working together to tell the best stories on stage and for screens of all sizes. Bridge06 was rooted in our belief that representation isn’t difficult, but that it takes commitment and fresh thinking to enact the practical and attitudinal changes necessary. This is a belief shared by the Casarotto family and we couldn’t be more proud to be joining this trailblazing organisation.”

Julie Fernandez added “Being an Access Coordinator myself, I know how valuable this role can be to talent and crew alike. Sara and I will work in our new roles as Agents that strive to level the playing field in the theatre, film, television and entertainment industries. I’m so pleased to be a part of Casarotto’s commitment to ensuring that individuals with disabilities have equal opportunities. Their renewed dedication to representation for deaf, disabled or neurodivergent people is a game-changer and I’m truly honoured to be a part of this new chapter.”

Founded by Sara Johnson in 2021, Bridge06 worked to bring an ‘Access First’ approach to the Media & Entertainment industries and beyond. Embedding in production and supporting the Access Coordinators they have trained, Sara and Julie have spent the last two years helping to educate all sides of the industry on the role and its value by giving webinars, talks and will continue to work closely with the many partner broadcasters from the TV Access Project. In the UK they have worked with the Head of Productions group and standardised the contracting to help kickstart the emergence of the role on the ground, ensuring that the production community understand and embrace the power of the Access Coordinator role.

Most recently, Sara and Julie have taken their work global collaborating with the British Film Commission, the 1in4 Coalition in the US, training Access Coordinators for Screen Australia and the New Zealand Film Commission, and spreading the word about the power of the Access Coordinator role as part of the movement for creating an Access First production industry world wide.

Sara Johnson is an industry leading executive producer. With a career spanning over 25 years, Sara began as a script Editor at EastEnders (BBC), before moving to Sky as Head of Drama, La Plante Productions as Head of Development, Keshet Productions as Exec Producer and Head of Scripted Co-Productions, Vice President of Scripted at Fox Networks EMEA (21st Century Fox’s Television Network Business) and Creative Director at Endor Productions.

Julie Fernandez is an Actress, Campaigner and Consultant. Her 30 year acting career highlights include The Office, Eldorado, Holby City and Casualty. Julie has made documentaries and worked as a presenter alongside being a Disability Consultant. She founded The Disability Foundation charity in 1998 and was a foster parent for 5 years. Julie has been working full time as an Access Coordinator since April 2022 and has become the foremost expert in this role across HETV and all genres. She is committed to showing the industry the value of the Access Coordinator role and indeed the joy that it brings to her in this new phase of her career.

Access Coordinator positions were a key recommendation from new disability pressure group Underlying Health Conditions (UHC), forming part of their published report into accessibility for disabled professionals both in front of and behind the camera, ‘Everybody Forgot About the Toilets’. UHC founders include actor Genevieve Barr (Then Barbara Met Alan, The Fades, The Silence, Ralph & Katie), production manager Katie Player (Treason, Churchill) and producer Holly Lubran.

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Casarotto Ramsay & Associates appoints new Managing Director Anna Higgs and creates internal Advisory Board as it shapes the company for future evolution and growth

  • Creative leader Anna Higgs joins Casarotto Ramsay & Associates as Managing Director
  • A new Advisory Board has been appointed to support the future vision and evolution of the organisation, formed by the promotion of six integral and experienced agents and executives
  • Founded in 1989, the fiercely independent agency has an illustrious history, and represents many of the world’s best-known writers, directors, creatives, literary properties, and Heads of Departments in film, theatre, television, and new media

LONDON (20th July 2023) — Leading theatre, film and television agency Casarotto Ramsay & Associates has announced the appointment of a new Managing Director, alongside the creation of an internal Advisory Board, as it shapes its strategy for future growth and evolution. Founded in 1989 and based in London, the fiercely independent global agency has an illustrious history, and represents many of the world’s best-known writers, directors, playwrights, theatre creatives, literary properties and heads of departments in film, theatre, television, and new media.

A creative leader with a vast and diverse industry experience, Anna Higgs joins the agency as Managing Director and will begin her role in August 2023. Higgs will be entrusted by the Casarotto Board to oversee the business and drive the strategic development and direction of the organisation.

Higgs was most recently Director of Entertainment Partnerships at Meta, with previous roles including Creative Director at global video channel NOWNESS and Commissioner and Head of Digital, Film4. Having already served two years as Chair of the BAFTA Film Committee - and being central to BAFTA’s historic Awards Review process - Higgs has just been re-elected to the Committee for a further two years. She was named one of Creative Review’s ‘Creative Leaders 50’ people who “are driving change, not just within their organisation but in the world at large”, as well as one of Time Out’s inaugural ‘Culture 100’.

Jodi Shields, Department Head of Film and TV said “Anna is a world class creative leader with a deep and broad track record in storytelling across all platforms, formats, and genres. She is uniquely placed to bring a wealth of new skills and experience to our global business. As we continue to evolve our company and culture, and grow our commercial relationships, she will bring a fresh perspective to our strategic development, all while building on our creative and organisational integrity. We are delighted to welcome Anna to our Casarotto family. “

Anna Higgs added, “The central thread of my career has been working with the most exceptional storytellers to connect their work with audiences in myriad ways, along with a dedication to inclusion and equity at the highest strategic and operational levels across the broadest spectrum of our creative industries. One look at our client list shows that this is an ethos that is closely shared with Casarotto Ramsay & Associates - a dynamic and legendary organisation that has always been known for its prestige, excellence, and innovation. I am honoured to have the opportunity to work with the team to build on its prestigious legacy and to evolve this highly successful company for generations to come.”

Higgs joins a team of over 60 staff who look after a client roster that includes Academy Award winning directors Sir Steve McQueen, Edward Berger and Lenny Abrahamson; Academy Award winning writer Sir Christopher Hampton, BAFTA winner Nicôle Lecky; BAFTA and EMMY winners Dearbhla Walsh, Jessica Hobbs, Bisha K Ali and Johan Renck; BAFTA, EMMY, Olivier and Tony award winning writer Jack Thorne; Olivier winning directors Rebecca Frecknall and John Tiffany; playwrights Sir David Hare, Caryl Churchill, Dennis Kelly and Lucy Kirkwood; filmmakers Nia DaCosta, Kelly Marcel and Kibwe Tavares; BAFTA-winning editor Lucia Zucchetti, Mdhamiri Á Nkemi, Producer Anita Overland, and DoP Kate McCullough; as well as literary estates including Tennessee Williams and JG Ballard.

Along with the appointment of a new Managing Director, Casarotto Ramsay & Associates has also announced the creation of an Advisory Board with immediate effect. The role of the Advisory Board is to provide the Board with additional insight, critical thinking, and analysis to further accelerate the strategic evolution and growth of the company.

The six inaugural appointments to the Advisory Board are Abby Singer, Anthony Mestriner, Emma Trounson, Lucinda Prain, Rachel Taylor (who will all continue to represent their clients), Tracy Brimm (who will continue as Head of Creative Affairs) and includes established and highly respected agents who represent some of the agency’s exceptional clients across the Film, TV, Theatre and Heads of Department disciplines.

Ian Devlin, Chief Operating Officer says; “This is an important moment for our company, where we can reward and recognise our immensely talented team, many of whom have been with Casarotto Ramsay across years of loyal and committed service.”

Mel Kenyon, Department Head of Theatre says; “As theatre continues to evolve creatively and commercially, so are we. By bringing together the creative talents of our top agents in the shape of the new Advisory Board, and Anna Higgs whose commercial strategic thinking is second to none, we are continuing to pave the way for a bright and brilliant future for the agency and all the exceptional artists we represent.”

Jenne Casarotto, Founder and Agent says: “Giorgio and I founded the company with just two people 34 years ago and in February 2024 we celebrate 35 years. We feel overwhelmingly proud to see it thriving as an excellent creative and supportive place, which is testament to our team and to our clients. This is what makes us the standout global agency we are today. I am thrilled to celebrate some of our most established, long serving colleagues that make up the Advisory Board and to have someone of Anna’s experience join us to lead us into the next stage of our journey.”

With a 34-year history, Casarotto Ramsay & Associates’ Board of Directors comprises Jenne Casarotto, Giorgio Casarotto, Jodi Shields (Head of Film & Television), Mel Kenyon (Head of Theatre), Ian Devlin (Chief Operating Officer), Elinor Burns (Agent & Director), Rachel Holroyd (Consultant & Director) and now Anna Higgs (Managing Director). A company always focused on the future of creative and commercial evolution, it has grown in scale over recent years, yet maintains its unique, bespoke approach thanks to the exceptional individuals that make up the team and the talent pool that team represents.

Casarotto Ramsay & Associates are also one of three founders of UK Production Company, AC Chapter One alongside Anonymous Content and United Agents. AC Chapter One is committed to making quality, entertaining and original content for television and film, across all genres, broadcasters, and platforms. The company’s show Best Interests, written by Jack Thorne for BBC and Fifth Season, premiered recently.