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Photo Courtesy of Kate Lumpkin

Trailblazers in Entertainment: Casting Director Kate Lumpkin, CSA

Robert Peterpaul

Casting Networks® continues to spotlight female trailblazers in the casting industry who uplift, educate and improve the entertainment landscape. Casting is a pivotal process in storytelling, putting together the worlds we see onscreen, and consequently influencing how we see people offscreen. There are countless women in casting who go above and beyond to ensure proper representation in television, film and theater projects. Please join us in celebration of all the powerhouse professionals working behind the scenes.

Kate Lumpkin, CSA, is an NYC-based casting director who founded Kate Lumpkin Casting. She has worked on over 40 TV/Film productions and 80 theatrical productions in New York City and across the U.S., including shows at The Kennedy Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The A.R.T, NYTW and many others. Most recently, Kate cast the Broadway national tour of “Bandstand.” 

Lumpkin not only curates casts for stories, but communities for artists hustling to realize their dreams. She is a respected teacher, leading workshops in New York and at numerous colleges and universities throughout the country. In addition, she is a private coach to clients around the world, guiding them with an all-encompassing method akin to a creative director. When she is not working, Kate is a passionate activist and leader on social media, inspiring her crowd of followers to practice wellness and make the world a better place.

Read on as we chat with Lumpkin about transforming social media into an actor’s safe haven and much more.

 

On creating her own casting company:

“Honestly, it was a really simple decision. I wanted to feel like I had agency over the way I talked about the process and this industry. And the only examples that I had seen of people being able to speak truths about our industry, were from people who did not feel like they represented someone else’s business. Often, the only ways that I saw women in positions of power, were when they started their own companies. I wanted to provide accessibility in this industry and to create a space where people felt empowered to walk into an audition room. I knew in my brain that if I wanted to do that, I needed to start from the ground up and without the restrictions of someone else’s brand.”

 

Her best advice for breaking into casting:

“My biggest piece of advice for anyone trying to become a casting professional is to hone in on your point of view as an individual. What are you interested in? What do you want to fight for? Why are you doing this work? If you have a very strong point of view and you are willing to make sacrifices for it and to fight for it, people will listen and people will show up to work with you. You have power. You have agency. Give yourself permission to say yes, set boundaries, and to stand up for yourself.”

 

How Kate kept us inspired during the pandemic:

If we had a social media award, we would emboss Kate Lumpkin’s name on it. From her Instagram Live Q&A chats, to creating the “NoMarking Society,” to encouraging wellness and growth during pandemic times, the casting director constantly makes herself available for entertainment professionals and strives to demystify the process as much as possible. “I think there is so much information that has been kept secret for so long in order to keep people in positions of power,” she told us. “There is a mystique about the world of casting that doesn’t need to be quite so hidden.” 

“So, I think one of the best ways to create equity in this very inequitable playing field, is to provide free educational resources for folks who are interested in the process,” she continued. “There is absolutely no reason that people should not feel prepared when they walk into an audition space. And yet, so much of that information is hidden behind paywalls and power structures that do not need to be reinforced. So, I made it a mission to utilize free tools that people have access to in order to create spaces where information is shared freely.”

In addition to providing a plethora of digital resources, Lumpkin offers one-on-one coaching to assist creatives in meeting their goals. She’s also been a fierce advocate for underrepresented groups in these trying times, making sure it’s known that there’s a seat at the table for everyone.