A Norwich drama teacher has set up a new casting agency in the city to help promote local talent.

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Jane Ashdown has run the city-based DramActive Academy for about two decades, and in 2008 she was nominated by some of her students for the inspirational teacher category of the 2008 Evening News Local Heroes Awards.

The academy, which teaches both children and adults, holds classes in a number of locations including Norwich High, Hethersett High, and Notre Dame High, and over the years Mrs Ashdown has supported other casting agencies to cast pupils from her performing arts school.

Her students have previously secured roles in scenes filmed in Norfolk for movies such as Atonement and The Duchess, which both starred Kiera Knightley, and also for TV shows including Kingdom.

Now Mrs Ashdown has set up her own casting agency - called Luvvies Casting - to help people find roles in film, television, theatre and advertising.

“I am really excited about Luvvies Casting. I have run DramActive for many years and now feels like the right time to attach a casting agency to the academy,” she said.

“For a small place Norwich has a huge amount of talent.”

She said it was important people were properly prepared for work in the performance industry, and that alongside her DramActive Academy classes she will also be running some Luvvies Casting workshops to help people with auditions, acting in front the camera and on stage, make-up and characterisation, and being a “supporting artist.”

“Time is money for producers, and they need people who know what they are doing and can take directions quickly,” she said.

Her new casting agency is open to DramActive students and also by audition to people who are not part of the academy.

Mrs Ashdown said she was looking for people who have a passion for performing and are very committed.

“Luvvies is not a model agency. It is about characterisation and being able to change your appearance,” she said.

“I am not just looking for models I am looking for committed children and adults who are good at characterisation.”

She added that Luvvies Casting will also have a licensed chaperone service for if parents are unable to accompany their children on jobs.

• For more information about Luvvies Casting visit www.luvvies.net or see the organisation’s page on Facebook.

• For more about DramActive Academy visit www.dramactive.co.uk

• Are you involved in a new arts project in Norwich? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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