Casting Director - Jan Russ
Summary: A variety of performance roles in the ranks of JC Williamson produced musicals, Australian television and theatre restaurant, gave Jan Russ a first-hand knowledge of the actor's craft. Her great charm and passion for talent, ultimately lead her to a role in which she was able to guide and nurture many actors as they entered residency in one of Australia's most iconic locations; Ramsay street, Erinsborough. For almost 30 years Jan was the Casting Director of the television juggernaut, Neighbours. Preparation for such a pivotal role was contributed to through a vast array of experiences. Jan sang and danced up a storm in productions of Charlie Girl, Godspell, Oliver, Fiddler on the Roof and The Man of La Mancha; all presented by 'The Firm' and guided by one of her mentors, Betty Pounder. Broadway almost beckoned and a stint in New Zealand saw her working on screen and off - leading to an opportunity to become the country's first female Floor Manager. Returning to Australia saw further performance opportunities in the rigorous demands of theatre restaurant, offering an experience of working live with sometimes unpredictable audiences. Casting came calling at Crawford productions - the production house responsible for an extensive repertoire of great Australian content. A move to the Grundy organisation gave her a casting role overseeing the population of Wentworth Detention centre in the iconic series Prisoner. But it wasn't long before she was on the ground floor of a new series, originally titled Living Together, that was to go on to become part of the echelon of Australian Television history and make its mark around the world. Jan possesses an infinite knowledge of the craft of acting on stage and screen. She is a living legend and a fine raconteur who converses with enormous joy and ardour; giving STAGES a fascinating insight to the business of casting and a unique journey in the theatre.