Actors’ Equity Eases Membership Requirements

Actors’ Equity Association, the union representing actors and stage managers in the theater, has announced a major change to its Equity Membership Candidate (EMC) program.

The program credits non-union actors for work in non-union roles at Equity affiliated theaters. Previously once an actor (or stage manager) in the program had worked 50 weeks, they would be able (and required) to join. Now, candidates may join after only 25 weeks but are not required to until accumulating 50.

The new change is nation-wide, and effective immediately. “EMCs in different parts of the country have different needs and goals. This change brings the program into the time in which we live,” said Kevin McMahon, Chair of the Entry to Equity Committee. “With this change, EMCs have more flexibility, more choices and ultimately they will have a better experience. I am thrilled Equity’s National Council has embraced these changes with a unanimous vote of support.”

EMCs who have already earned 25 creditable weeks are eligible to join Equity immediately. The initiation fee for those who join prior to Jan. 1, 2018 is $1,100, after which it will increase to $1,600. Equity says that there are currently 13,318 active participants in the EMC program. To join, actors and stage managers must be hired at a participating Equity theater (look for Equity auditions here on PerformInk), and pay a fee of $100 that will be deducted from the initiation fee upon joining.

Enrollment in the EMC program is only one way actors join the union. Non-union performers and stage managers are often offered Equity contracts at theaters, requiring immediate membership.

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Abigail Trabue

Abigail has worked as an actor/director in Chicago for over ten years, and along with husband Jason Epperson founded Lotus Theatricals in 2015, and PerformInk Chicago and Kansas City in 2016 (where she serves as Managing Editor of both publications). When not talking shop, Abigail is raising three padawans with Jason, drinking lots of coffee, converting school buses into RV's, and eating all the foods at Disney World. You can find her on Twitter @AbigailTrabue