Casting director Jo Hawes passed away yesterday at the age of 63.
Jo started her career in stage management before becoming the Children’s Casting Director for Oliver! at the London Palladium in 1995. Since then, she helped shape the industry, working on big West End shows including Les Misérables, Mary Poppins and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and most recently Newsies at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre.
She also ran performing arts and auditioning courses and classes for children as well as courses for chaperones. In 2012 she wrote Children In Theatre, a guide for parents of child performers, and was heralded for her leadership around child casting and licensing and chaperones.
She was awarded a Special Recognition Award by the Olivier Awards in 2020 in celebration of her career and impact on the industry. At the ceremony, she was presented with her award by Jonathan Sayer – founding member of Mischief Theatre – who she had cast in Les Misérables as a child.
Many performers have been paying their tributes on social media and thanking Jo for giving them their breaks as children and supporting their careers.
A statement from her family reads:
“She felt that there was nothing like the feeling when she was contacted about a new show. In 2014, she wrote Children in Theatre – a book that helps children and their parents navigate their way through the wonderful world of live theatre. She often said that handing a book to a publisher was a bit like giving birth.”