CGA Rising Stars announced for 2023 

Some 12 actors with 'the potential to break out on the world stage' have been named by the Casting Guild of Australia.

The Casting Guild of Australia has crowned Australia’s top emerging talent of 2023, revealing its 9th annual list of CGA Rising Stars. 

Previously a group of ten, the CGA has this year named 12 actors with the potential to break out on the world stage. The 2023 CGA Rising Stars include Ben Turland (Riptide, Neighbours), Bernie van Tiel (Class of ’07, Blaze), Carlos Sanson Jr (Sweet As, Bump), Costa D’Angelo (Crazy Fun Park, Wog Boys), Emma Harvie (Colin From Accounts, In Limbo), Kartanya Maynard (Deadloch, The Messenger), Natalie Abbott (Aftertaste, A Perfect Pairing), Nathalie Morris (Bump, Petrol), Perry Mooney (Gold Diggers, Romance on the Menu), Raj Labade (Appetite, The Office Australia), William Lodder (Love Me S2, Bali 2002), and William McKenna (The Messenger, Queen of Oz). 

The annual awards have a strong track-record of picking Australian talent it describes as being ‘truly on the cusp of greatness’, with previous recipients including Milly Alcock (House of Dragon), Eliza Scanlan (Little Women), Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why), Ayesha Madden (Heartbreak High), Zoe Terakes (Talk To Me), Olivia De-Jonge (Elvis), James Majoos (Heartbreak High) and Alexander England (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart), just to name a few. 

CGA President Thea McLeod said: ‘The Casting Guild of Australia takes immense pride in discovering this year’s exceptional Rising Stars. It’s an absolute pleasure to support and nurture these talented individuals as they embark on their promising careers in the entertainment industry. In celebration of their remarkable talent and dedication, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to them all. The CGA is very excited to see what’s in store for our amazing Rising Stars of 2023.’ 

Actor bios

  • Ben Turnald will next be seen as ‘Eli’ in the upcoming Paramount+ original series Paper Dolls. He is also currently filming on the feature film, The Deb, directed by Rebel Wilson. Prior to this, he was cast by Thea McLeod as ‘Hendrix Greyson’ on the Ten/Fremantle television series Neighbours, starred as ‘Ethon Weston’ on Channel 5’s limited series Riptide, a recurring guest ‘Jordan Walsh’ on Seven’s Home and Away and had guest roles on Nine’s Love Child and ABC’s Dance Academy. 
  • Actor and musician Bernie van Tiel can currently be seen starring in the SBS series Erotic Stories and recently starred as ‘Tegan’ in Prime Video’s Class of ’07. Later this year, Bernie will be starring in SBS’s Swift Street and also composed a song for the series. Previously, she has starred in Jade of Death, Single, Blaze, Home and Away and Dream Channel. A talented hip-hop artist and producer performing under the name BVT, Bernie toured with electro-dance pop group “Haiku Hands” in 2021 and performed at World Pride 2023. Their debut mixtape ‘LALAKI’s Mixtape’ released this November. 
  • Carlos Sanson Jr is renowned for his role as Santiago in the smash-hit Stan Original Series Bump and has just finished filming on Paper Dolls for Paramount+. In 2022, he was nominated for the ‘Graham Kennedy Award for Most Popular New Talent’ at The Logies. In 2021, he was cast by Jane Norris in Sweet As, from Jub Clerc. He appeared in shows like Mr Inbetween and has produced short films of his own (Hoodies, Nine White Moons, Seeing Red) with his film collective ‘Strange Attractor’. He spent early 2020 and late 2019 in Atlanta filming The CW series, Legacies. Prior to that Carlos was in Los Angeles filming Netflix’s Malibu Rescue: The Next Wave, which was the number #1 movie on Netflix upon premiering in 2019. He graduated with a Diploma of Screen Acting from Screenwise in 2018. 
  • Costa D’Angelo graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2022 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting). Whilst at VCA, Costa was involved in many theatre productions including 37, First Love is the Revolution, Love and Information, The Seagull, Angels in America, The Palace of Illusion, The Illiad and Capture the Flag. On screen, Costa played the role of ‘Darius’ in ABC’s 2023 Logie award winning television series, Crazy Fun Park and ‘Michael’ in Frank Lotito’s feature film, Wog Boys Forever. Costa is currently starring in Amazon/Network 10’s reboot of Neighbours. 
  • Emma Harvie is currently starring on the Binge/BBC original series Colin from Accounts as ‘Megan’ opposite Harriet Dyer and Patrick Brammal as well as the hit Channel 7 series RFDS as ‘Chaya’. She recently wrapped on the ABC series In Limbo in the female lead ‘Freya’. Previously, she starred in the second season of the ABC/Netflix series The Letdown as ‘Anoush’, in ABC’s Diary of an Uber Driver and the HBO Max series Frayed. Emma has amassed an impressive list of credits on stage, including Wherever She Wanders, Dance Nation, Wrath, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Astral Plane. A graduate from The Actors Centre Australia, Emma also studied at The Atlantic Acting School in New York. 
  • A proud Truwulway and Nunga actor, Kartanya Maynard is a storyteller and always aspired to be an artist. Kartanya’s screen credits are building quickly. She recently joined the regular cast of season two of Netflix’s international hit series Heartbreak High and was cast by Kate Leonard in Amazon Prime’s series Deadloch. She stars as the lead role of ‘Richie’ in ABC’s The Messenger and in the ABC/CBS series Gold Diggers. In 2024, Kartanya will make her mainstage debut at the Sydney Theatre Company in Stolen. Kartanya is also a talented singer with a Bachelor in Music and has performed at music festivals. In 2020, she performed in Archipelago’s production of Angus Cerini’s The Bleeding Tree alongside Martha Dusseldorp. 
  • Natalie Abbot is a performer hailing from Yuin country (South Coast NSW). After completing her BMUs in Musical Theatre at the Australian Institute of Music, she made her professional debut playing the titular role of Muriel Heslop in Global Creatures’ national tour of Murial’s Wedding The Musical in 2019. Recently, she appeared in 2023’s On A Clear Day You Can See Forever at the Seymour Centre and will make her feature film debut in the lead role in The Deb directed by Rebel Wilson. In 2020, Natalie made her television debut in the ABC series Aftertaste opposite Erik Thomson and reprising her role for season 2. Natalie can also be seen in the Netflix Original film The Perfect Pairing. Natalie has been nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Female Actor in a Musical, a Green Room Award for Lead Role in Musical Theatre for Muriel’s Wedding The Musical and a Sydney Theatre Award for Best Supporting Role for her part in The Lovers.
  • Nathalie Morris recently completed production on the fourth season of Stan series Bump in which she stars in the lead role of ‘Oly’ opposite Claudia Karvan and Angus Sampson, cast by Kirsty McGregor. She was last seen in acclaimed filmmaker Alena Lodkina’s feature film Petrol which premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival and will next be seen in Josephine Stewart Te-Whiu’s New Zealand feature Te Motu. Nathalie graduated from Toi Whakaari with a Bachelor of Performing Arts in 2018. Since graduating, she has appeared in the US feature film Black Christmas for Blumhouse Productions, US TV Series Almost Paradise and Season 1 and 2 of Great Southern Television’s One Lane Bridge. Nathalie also played the role of ‘Nina’ in Auckland Theatre Company’s production of Chekhov’s The Seagull, which screened online during Covid and was met with worldwide acclaim. 
  • Perry Mooney is a Yuwi person (Mackay) with South Sea Islander (Solomon Islands) and Euro-Australian lineage. They are an accomplished actor, First Nations runway model and model mentor. Perry began their career as a model in 2013 and most recently walked in two Afterpay Australian Fashion Weeks (AAFW) in 2021 and 2022. Beginning with small roles in local feature films, they were soon cast as ‘Vic’ in ABC’s Gold Diggers. Perry has since wrapped shooting a lead role in Population 1:1 for Stan and Lionsgate. Also a stage performer, they, as part of Brisbane Festival 2022, made their on-stage debut in Queen’s City, for which they earned a Matilda Award for Best Emerging Artist. Later this year, Perry will star in Face to Face at QPAC and in Tiddas at Belvoir St in Sydney. Perry takes their role as a mentor very seriously and wishes to continue to inspire young First Nations models and actors to enter these industries and increase the representation of First Nations people in our visual media.
  • Next year, Raj Labade will star as ‘Sebastian’ in the highly anticipated Amazon Prime series, The Office: Australia. This year he has worked in the STC/State Theatre production Dictionary of Lost Words, and Griffin Theatre production Sex Magick, as well as being cast by Will Pearce and Stevie Ray in the SBS series Appetite. In 2022, Raj starred in the Belvoir production Tell Me I’m Here, the acclaimed Belvoir 22a production Never Closer and Performing Lines’ Mary Stuart. At 17, Raj began his professional career as ‘Lewis’ in the Netflix feature film Back of the Net and, at 18, was accepted into the illustrious Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) course at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). Whilst at WAAPA, Raj was the recipient of multiple prestigious awards; the 2020 Speech and Drama Teachers Association Poetry Prize, the 2021 Vice Chancellor’s Shakespeare Award of ‘Best Production’ for his performance of Hamlet and the 2021 Leslie Anderson Award for Best Graduating Actor in his final showcase performance. 
  • William Lodder is best known for starring in the critically acclaimed television drama series Love Me, cast by Nathan Lloyd. The series is the first original commission for Binge, in which William stars alongside Hugo Weaving and Bojana Novakovic. He can currently be seen in the highly anticipated second season. In 2020, William made his screen debut playing the lead role of ‘Jack’ in the Netflix feature film Go Karts opposite Frances O’Connor and Richard Roxburgh. Following this, William appeared as ‘Ted’ in the ABC television series Wakefield. He also recently appeared in the Stan original series Bali 2002. William has a Diploma of Stage and Screen Performance from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). 
  • This year, William McKenna can be seen in the lead role for ABC and Lingo Picture’s The Messenger in addition to BBC’s Queen of Oz, Melbourne Theatre Company’s Bernhardt/Hamlet and upcoming series Thou Shalt Not Steal. In 2019-2020, William starred as ‘Scorpius Malfoy’ in the Australian production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a role he was cast in by Janine Snape. His performance saw him nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play and win the Green Room Award for Best Performance in a Theatre Production. He also starred in series 3 and 4 of Nowhere Boys for Matchbox Pictures. William debuted in the Melbourne Theatre Company 2022 season in Joshua Harmons’ Admissions. He won the 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Class Clowns nationwide competition and hosted the 2016 final. He completed his first solo show Appellation at the 2022 Festival, to which he received a nomination for Best Newcomer. 

As of yesterday, audiences can meet this year’s Rising Stars as part of a 12 day series on CGA’s Instagram, with a new interview posted each day in the lead up to the official in-person presentation at the CGA Awards ceremony on 24 November in Sydney at Establishment Hotel. 

The Rising Stars program is supported by Casting Networks & Showcast, with both providing 24-month premium memberships for each of the actors. 4 

Find out more.

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites