Extras agency co-founder marks movie industry milestone

Siobhan Allan, co-founder and finance director, The Extras Dept. INLS 10-751-CON
Siobhan Allan, co-founder and finance director, The Extras Dept. INLS 10-751-CON

A Londonderry woman is celebrating a decade as a leading player in the Northern Ireland film industry with a number of key announcements.

Siobhan Allan is the co-founder and finance director with Extras NI - the province’s first and largest extras agency.

The company has over 17,000 registered extras, aged from 2 to 90, and from all walks of life, on its books.

It has provided thousands of background artists to support productions such as BBC’s The Fall and HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Following a rebranding exercise, Extras NI officially relaunched yesterday (Tuesday) as The Extras Dept and it marked the milestone by hosting a major blood drive with Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service and over 200 extras in Belfast.

Siobhan explained: “The Extras Dept. has been involved in providing extras and stand-ins for film and television productions for over 10 years and we wanted to give something back.

“So, to symbolise all the blood, sweat and tears that have not only gone into the last ten years of building the company, but also to rebalance all the blood that has been spilled in the countless film and television programmes that we have provided extras for, we decided to partner with Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service to host a blood drive at the iconic filming location, Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast.”

The Extras Dept. has just celebrated a record-breaking year thanks to its work in 2016 with nine major productions as well as a number of commercials and smaller productions.

The number of days worked by the company’s extras has increased by 55% in just two years. Last year there were 3,900 individual extras working on productions shooting in Northern Ireland, culminating in a total of 20,167 days worked. This represents an increase of 7,149 days since 2014. The extras earned around £1.9million in 2016, the equivalent of 80 people being employed full time on an annual basis.

This year will see The Extras Dept introducing a new Dublin office with film production clients increasingly asking for help with filling their extras roles in the Republic of Ireland.