Coronavirus changed the game for voiceover work. Overnight, it became almost the only viable source of acting work, with cheaper kit and home studios making it easier than ever for artists to record remotely. Creators and actors alike looked again at the possibilities of what could be done with the voice.
But good quality voice work and acting has been around for a century, from advertisements to radio plays and additional dialogue recording. Throughout, agencies specialising in voice have played a major role in the industry, connecting artists to clients via the magic of the microphone. Now that games have become blockbuster franchises, and popular fiction make it to your headphones, it’s more important than ever to survey the agencies helping their artists build a career from their vocal cords.
As with regular acting agencies, the landscape is varied, and figuring out the right one for you is a complicated task. From which agents are behind the glossy websites to who they represent and why, we’ve charted the way through London’s many voice agencies and looked at what might suit performers from a variety of backgrounds and with different levels of experience.
We’ve not included voice agencies which are departments of major acting agents and who do not generally take on outside clients, such as AdVoice, United Voices, and Hhush (a department of Hamilton Hodell). Instead, this is a focus on independent agencies who specialise in voice, and here is our list of the 10 London voice agencies that you need to know.
The Breakdown: Established without being stuffy, well-stocked but still picky, The Joneses is without a doubt a top-tier agency for both recognisable and fresh voices, with a specialism in characterful, interesting performers and comedians.
Everyone is trying to keep up with The Joneses. Established in 2002, it’s nowhere near the oldest voice agency on this list but nonetheless, its roster of talent would make any agent envious and any performer happy to be counted among their artists. Big names like Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Adeel Akhtar (Les Miserables, Murdered By My Father) and Martin Compston (Line of Duty) are on the books, and consequently you’d be forgiven for thinking this agency is all about screen talent. But a deeper search of their clients shows that theatre heavyweights like Arinzé Kene, Jonjo O’Neill, and Ellie Kendrick get equal billing alongside comedians like London Hughes and Lolly Adefope as well as a sprinkling of newcomers.
With around 200 actors, comedians, presenters, and all-round performers of “extraordinary talent,” The Joneses can’t be called small or boutique; but then again, most top voice agencies count their client list in the hundreds. What really sets The Joneses apart is that their books are significantly more diverse than most both in terms of background and skills. Mercury Award-winning rapper Speech Debelle is a client, as is Chabuddy G creator Asim Chaudhry and Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner Jordan Brookes.
Run by agent Laura Milne, who has over a decade of experience as a voice agent and is a well-respected industry figure, this is definitely the best place for what the agency call “distinct and characterful” voices. If you’ve got comic timing and a unique sound or skill, this is a superb agency to aim for. You’ll need some track record or training to join their books, so if you’re just starting out then it’s perhaps best to look elsewhere.
“Currently, producers are looking for different sounds, a break from the usual. If you’ve got a rasp, a lisp, a crazy amount of gravitas, or a unique tone, that’s worth pushing rather than refining it away.”
The Breakdown: A large and respected voice agency with a fair share of recognisable names among their artists, also catering for young voices and international clients. Hobsons is a full-service agency, with studio facilities in west London and an industry-leading team who match voices to clients’ needs.
Representing more than 600 artists, Hobsons is one of the larger voice agencies in London. However, their scale is matched by their wealth of talent, including top names like Martin Freeman, David Walliams, and Cush Jumbo. Top Audible narrator Aoife McMahon is on the books, as are a host of actors and voiceover artists with decades of experience across commercials, documentary narration, and audio books.
Their size, along with the fact that they have a recording studio in west London, means they offer clients a full-service package of casting, recording, and delivering audio. The team of agents looks after young voices as well as international voices. Size, speed, skill, and variety make Hobsons a no-brainer for busy clients, which is perhaps why the agency has been around since agencies were delivering voice reels on cassette tapes.
Importantly, Hobsons is approachable and always on the lookout for new talent, with voice artists able to submit reels and a biography via email year-round.
This is a dependable agency, with industry weight, a strong flow of work, and a host of busy actors on their books. A large selection of talent may mean it’s difficult to stand out but with a team of five agents, you’re likely to get your fair share of attention.
The Breakdown: Led by the much-loved Emma Harvey, this respected and approachable mid-scale agency has a diverse client list featuring a mix of voices, from actors to jobbing voice-over artists and DJs.
Set up in 2006 and featuring around 230 artists on the books, Harvey Voices is a solid mid-scale agency with a busy client list. It’s home to a variety of actors, voice-over artists, presenters, and DJs, including top theatre and screen talent like Kate Fleetwood, who has an illustrious voice career, appearing in everything from The Numtums on CBeebies, Weetabix adverts, and video games.
Talking of video games, Harvey Voices seems to specialise in this growing area of the industry, with their artists regularly popping up in blockbuster franchises. Acclaimed indie game The Occupation starred Harvey’s client Amelia Tyler, who went on to win Best Performance at IndieCade 2019 for her role as Scarlet.
Elsewhere, performers have worked on documentary narration, luxury brands, and a range of corporate gigs. While there doesn’t seem to be the focus on audiobooks or radio plays that other agencies have, there are plenty of artists (like the extraordinary Finty Williams), who are seasoned readers.
Emma Harvey’s books are periodically closed in order to focus on existing artists. However, the agency would be a good fit for performers who are aiming to build on their acting career with voice work and want a friendly and committed agency to be their home.
“Personality is key, as is a natural and confident delivery. The cliche ‘just be yourself’ is apt – you don’t have to be able to do a hundred different voices or accents and you don’t need to be able to mimic anyone else – just do the best you can.”
The Breakdown: An independent, diverse, and respected agency, with a healthy mix of top names, legends, and new talent. Plenty of singular and characterful voices prove this agency isn’t afraid of risk-taking and originality.
Yakety Yak’s growing client list sets the tone of this modern, fiercely independent agency. Founder and managing director Jolie Williams has just added rising stars Rose Williams (Sanditon, Reign) and Paapa Essiedu (Press, Hamlet – RSC) to already impressive books that include Ewan McGregor, Adrian Lester, Billie Piper, Romola Garai, and comedy genius Rebecca Front.
While the roster is full of recognisable faces, there are plenty of voices you might recognise too, including Phil Cornwell, voice of Murdoc from Gorillaz, and Rupert Degas, the “Jim Carey of voices.”
The mix of exciting and established actors means you’ll need an impressive CV or a truly unique voice to be added to their books, though the team do accept and listen through submissions.
“Yakety Yak is an open-minded agency with a good mix of agents, from young to mature, experienced to up-and-coming. This creates fresh, exciting, and sometimes radical ideas on casting.”
The Breakdown: Founded and run by a certified rock star, this boutique agency is a good bet for experienced actors looking to build voice work but might not be the right fit for younger actors.
Just Voices’ Leigh Matty (agent by day, rock star by night) says she founded the company because the industry was missing an agency with fewer artists and of very high quality. She’s certainly filled that gap in the market, and Just Voices is stocked with respected actors from stage and screen lending their vocal cords to all aspects of the audio industry. Top artists include Graham Norton, Ruth Jones, and the prolific voice actor David Holt.
Unlike some other agencies in this list, there isn’t a focus on younger talent or the diversity of skills and backgrounds one sees in an agency like The Joneses. However, if you’re a seasoned actor with plenty of previous experience, then Just Voices is a strong bet. They do take submissions but be aware that you’ll need professional experience as well as a high-quality voice reel.
The Breakdown: A serious industry presence that hires voices instead of names, this agency is for unique performers and artists who want to build a long-lasting career out of their cords.
Owned and run by Peter Morris, the doyen of voice work, Soho Voices is a small-ish voice agency that boasts one of London’s best-equipped audio studios and (as if you couldn’t guess these guys are serious about audio) the first Dolby Atmos-certified studio in the world.
As well as being a snappy dresser, Morris is lead agent and a casting director specialising in voice casting for features, TV series, games, and commercials across the world. He’s also one of the most respected agents in the business and is regularly featured as an expert speaker.
Soho Voices has a varied collection of performers on the books, including the largest selection of American voices in London and a specialised section for children. At around a decade old and with 141 artists, Soho Voices is a relative newcomer and appears to be growing their books accordingly. Although you might not have heard of their talent, you’ll definitely have heard them in action, as the agency leans towards voices not names. These include in-demand and award-winning VO artists Joanna Eliot, Alexia Kombou, and Benjamin Noble.
If you’ve got the talent and are serious about voiceover work being a major part of your career, then this is a superb agency to aim towards.
The Breakdown: An industry-leading company with perhaps the most comprehensive and experienced collection of voices of any independent agency, Sue Terry nonetheless has an eye for new talent.
Sue Terry’s books are formidable. They read like a who’s who of actors, with recognisable heavyweights like Rory Kinnear, James McArdle, Anne-Marie Duff, Claire Foy, Sheila Atim, Bill Paterson, and Tobias Menzies. However, Terry has obviously got an eye on fresh and unique talent as recent new additions include rapper A.Dot alongside Gwyneth Keyworth (Defending The Guilty), Kedar Williams-Stirling and Aimee Lou Wood (both from Netflix’s Sex Education), and theatre-star Ria Zmitrowicz (The Welkin – National Theatre, The Doctor – Almeida).
Sue Terry Voices directs and records voice reels for all new recruits so as to learn their skills and match performers with clients, including all the major UK broadcasters.
Founded in 1999, the team are devoted to “talented, highly credited” actors and comedians, so this is far from a walk-in for young or inexperienced actors. A notice on their website even reads that actors “fresh out of drama school or similar” should not apply for representation. However, if you’ve got a series of paid acting credits and some miles behind you, this is one of those voice agencies to aim for.
The Breakdown: A solid agency with a broad but manageable range of established artists, including popular narrators and some world-class voice acting talent.
Established in 2001, Qvoice is a busy and reputable mid-scale agency with a broad range of actors and comedians on the books. Clients include recognisable voices like Bill Nighy, Michelle Gomez, Julian Barratt, and John Simm, and a collection of hugely versatile acting stalwarts like Vicki Pepperdine, Justin Salinger, and Nicola Walker. The roster also includes tremendous readers like Jot Davies, who has around 100 audio books to his name.
Led by founder and agent Nicola Richardson along with assistants Becky Creech and Emma Berryman, their 243 clients put it neatly in the middle of other agencies in terms of size. There don’t appear to be any specialisms to speak of other than getting performers good work and keeping clients happy.
The agency isn’t clear about whether it’s accepting new artists, but given that there are a fair few fresh faces (and most agencies are open to listening to reels), it’s not a bad choice for aspiring voice artists looking for strong representation.
The Breakdown: an under-the-radar agency with quietly brilliant clients working on some of the best audio around, Voicecall is a serious player that lets the work speak for itself.
One of the smallest agencies on this list, Voicecall is nonetheless a formidable presence in the industry thanks to their roster of quietly brilliant voice actors. It’s an agency that goes for talent over star power, which is perhaps why it’s home to a host of busy narrators and audio industry award-winners, rather than any names you might recognise. Agents Penny and Phillipa Brown run a friendly and open agency, always on the lookout for new talent, and appear to specialise in narration, automated dialogue replacement (ADR) and animation.
Artists include the prolific Clare Corbett, who has narrated around 200 audio books, starred in 250 radio plays and won more awards than could be listed here, as well as Nigel Carrington, the wonderfully evocative narrator of award-winning video game Dear Esther.
Although most major agencies are overrun with submissions, it’s smaller agencies like Voicecall that are the right places for newcomers to comb the books and see if they might be missing someone with your voice.
“Audiobooks and games have become a huge industry compared to 20 years ago and this has opened up the market for new and adventurous talent to gain a foothold and thrive.”
The Breakdown: London’s freshest and most exciting agency with a host of extraordinary talent, way beyond what you’d expect of a newcomer.
Loud and Clear Voices is by far the youngest agency on the list. Started in 2014, when founder Jamie Grant ran a book of just 50 artists from his living room, it’s now grown to three times the size and is an award-winning agency based in Notting Hill that any actor would be proud to call home. Still a modest 150-strong, the books are filled with voices from across the industry, with actors, comedians, presenters, and what Grant calls “none-of-the-aboves.”
Led by experienced agent Julie Theivendran, Loud and Clear’s artists include big names like Katherine Parkinson, Georgina Campbell (Black Mirror), and acclaimed narrator Joe Jameson.
Although they periodically close their books, it’s agencies on upward trajectories (and with expanding books) like this that are perfect for fresher actors. So, if you’ve just invested in a shiny voice reel then go ahead and introduce yourself to someone like these guys.
Ready to get to work? Check out Backstage’s voiceover audition listings!