1. While I haven't been in a play in years, I do technically have a degree in theater. So I know a little bit about acting.
2. I have lived in New England and Chicago, two places with very distinct accents.
With that information established, I am about let you in on a HUGE pet peeve of mine: really bad accents. I hate seeing any movie, TV show, or other dramatic presentation in which an actor tries to do an accent, and totally blows it. I notice this the most with Boston accents. For example- everyone other than Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg in "The Departed" does a terrible Boston accent.
Here is what I would like to see happen:
Casting Directors- If you are casting roles for a movie, TV Show, or other dramatic presentation, and the description of the part includes "has a <Southern, Boston, Chicago, Scottish, South California, Etc.> accent" DON'T CAST ACTORS WHO CAN'T PLAUSIBLY DO THAT ACCENT. In fact, if you can, cast actors who actually have those accents in their non acting voice.
Actors- DON'T TRY TO DO AN ACCENT IF YOU SUCK AT IT. If you can't get an accent right, don't do it. There are tons of people from every place who speak relatively unaccented English. You will be more plausible in your role if you just talk like an anchor on the national news than if you try to stumble your way through an accent.