Actors’ Equity Rolls Out Major Changes to Audition Process

Actors’ Equity Rolls Out Major Changes to Audition Process

Pictured: The rehearsal/audition room at the Actors’ Equity Association Chicago offices. 

In an email to its members, Actors’ Equity Association—the union that represents professional stage actors—announced that effective immediately, the process will be handled online through the re-vamped member portal, where audition posts can be saved in a cart and appointments can be made on a mobile-friendly website.

The change is a welcome one for union members, who previously had to call in to make appointments during business hours. Non-union actors—including Equity Membership Candidates, who earn points to gain membership—however, have been expressing disappointment on social media that audition postings, which were posted for anyone to view on, are now behind a members-only login. Equity says that all auditions will continue to be sent to Playbill, Backstage, and BroadwayWorld for posting, but those sites are independent and primarily New York or Los Angeles focused—and Backstage requires a paid subscription.

Many Chicago actors believe this is a problematic decision in a city where union-affiliated shows hire many non-union actors. Questions have arisen as t0 whether the move is to help insulate Equity auditions from non-union “crashers” turning up without appointments (non-union actors have never been able to make appointments, instead they show up and get on a wait list to be seen), and whether this change will inadvertently affect attempts to make Equity more diverse.

A request to host Chicago-area postings on PerformInk was not immediately returned.

UPDATE: PerformInk has been in contact with the Chicago AEA Member Services Department and will immediately begin receiving and posting all equity jobs to our site. We are pleased to be able to offer the Equity and Non-Equity community an audition board that touches all corners of the Chicago audition scene. This partnership will allow for more immediate and thorough access for EMC and Non-Equity actors, while still allowing Equity actors the convenience Equity’s new online site will offer them. 

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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