Get informed! Explore this site and get an understanding of how Equity’s membership rules work for you.

Work with the theaters you love. Continue performing with more than 75% of intimate theater producing companies in LA.

Get paid. Learn about how you can work in Los Angeles and get paid at least the minimum wage some of the time.

Welcome!

LEARN ABOUT THE MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR WORK IN LA COUNTY

There has been a lot of discussion and debate surrounding Equity’s new rules and contracts for our members working in Los Angeles County. It’s simple: the union’s new membership rules were implemented to guarantee that Equity members in Los Angeles have a reasonable number of chances to get paid at least the minimum wage for their stage work.

Actors’ Equity was founded on the principle that all actors deserve fair pay. Those who’ve joined this union have not only benefited from safe and sanitary protections, but have also been promised that the union will fight to ensure them a fair and living wage. Across the country, our staff works on your behalf to ensure that you have been compensated for your time and talent.

With the 2015 implementation of a set of new policies in Los Angeles County, actors and stage managers will no longer have to rely on volunteerism in order to perform on stage. The new 99-Seat Theatre Agreement, now available in Los Angeles—and available to be bargained with LA small theaters—will pay at least minimum wage to members. But Equity understands that the whole ecosystem can’t just change overnight, and that our members value the ability to get on stage and maintain their artistic chops between contracts.  That’s why the National Council not only created a Transitional Code to allow for adjustment and fundraising, but also made sure to complement the new agreement with carve-outs that allow members to perform, under specific circumstances, without benefit of contract.  These new policies (which are officially called “internal membership rules”) provide opportunities for members to self-produce, participate in shows under the LA Showcase Code and work with membership companies without union restrictions.

Use this website as a resource. Because there has been so much dialogue about the state of Los Angeles theatre and Equity’s new rules and contracts, take the time to read about these new opportunities for you in Los Angeles.

Get Informed!

No Matter the City or the Size of the Theater, Equity Has Always Fought for Fair Pay.

For decades, members working on and behind stages in Los Angeles County have been volunteering their time and talent for as little as $7 per day during performances, and no pay for rehearsals. Because the theatre community in Los Angeles is quite diverse, Equity’s National Council introduced a new template contract—the 99-Seat Theatre Agreement—as well as retaining the HAT (Hollywood Area Theatre) Contract and allowing the SPT (Small Professional Theatre) Contract for the first time ever in Los Angeles.  But since not every theatre has the ability to grow to contract, and because our members have clearly stated that they don’t need Equity oversight when they are producing their own work, members may continue performing with membership companies (which make up about 1/3 of the Los Angeles landscape) and self-producing (following the introduction of the LA Self-Produced Project Code) without a contract.  Finally, members may participate in productions in spaces with fewer than 50 seats per the LA Showcase Code, which is nearly identical to Showcase Codes in other cities.

This site was created specifically so that Equity members can get a complete understanding about the new contracts and codes now available in Los Angeles County. With this site:

  • You can get the facts
  • You can learn more about the new internal membership rules* and negotiated agreements in Los Angeles County
  • You can learn what these codes and agreements mean for actors and stage managers working in theatre in LA

*Internal union membership rules are rules that members agree to abide by when they join a union.  One of those rules is typically the prohibition against working without a contract in the union’s jurisdiction.  For Equity members, the internal membership rules include Codes, Waivers and Guidelines – all of which create limited exceptions to the rule against “working off the card.”

 

 

 

Los Angeles Theatres by Category:

Click to expand any of the following lists:

Membership Companies Approved by Equity

Here is a list of the 61 Membership Companies Equity has approved in LA County:

24th Street Theatre
2Cents Theatre
68 Cent Crew Theatre Company/Theatre 68
Actors Co-op
Actors’ Gang, The
Alliance Repertory Company
Antaeus Company, The
Brimmer Street Theatre Company
Burglars of Hamm
Buzzworks Theater Company
Celebration Theatre
Circle X Theatre Co.
City Garage
Classical Theatre Lab
Coeurage Theatre Company
Color and Light Theatre Ensemble
Company of Angels
Critical Mass Performance Group
Downtown Repertory Theater Company
Echo Theater Company
Eclectic Company Theatre
Elephant Theatre Company
Ensemble Studio Theatre – Los Angeles
Evidence Room
Fierce Backbone
Four Clowns
Ghost Road Company
Hero Theatre
IAMA Theatre
Little Fish Theatre
Loft Ensemble
Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theatre
Los Angeles New Court Theatre
Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble
Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble
Moving Arts
Neo Ensemble Theatre
New American Theatre
Next Arena, The
NoHo Arts Center Ensemble
Open Fist Theatre Company
Orgasmico Theatre Company
Other Side of The Hill Prods. Inc., The (DBA The Road Theatre Company)
Pacific Resident Theater
Porters of Hellsgate
Production Company, The
Rogue Artists Ensemble
Rogue Machine Theatre*
Sacred Fools Theater Company*
Santa Monica Repertory Theater
Savage Players
SkyPilot Theatre Company
Son of Semele
Southern California Shakespeare Festival
Theatre 40
Theatre Banshee
Theatre of NOTE
Theatre Unleashed
Theatre West
Unknown Artists, The
Vagrancy, The

Companies Producing in Theaters of 50 Seats or Fewer

Here is a list of companies that have, in the past, produced in theaters of 50 seats or fewer, and thus can most likely use the new LA Showcase Code:

6-8-10 Productions
A Theatre Connection
Artists At Play
Candace Kelley, Audrey Kelley & Gilda Rogers
Children’s Theatre Group of Southern California
Divergent Theatre
Drive Theatre Company
Fresh Produce’d Los Angeles
Georgetown Productions LLC
Lange Productions/Rogue Machine
Leap in the Dark Productions
Lucid Dramatics
Magnum Opus Players
Mine is Yours Theatre Company
Morris Productions
Oddbird Theatricals
Queer Classics
Solange Castro
Spirited Hands Productions, LLC
Stone Soup Productions
Teatro De La O
The Others Theater @ Sons of Semele CC Festival
The Others Theater Company
Theater Om
Theatre Theater/Sparkling City Entertainment
Vagabond (or Vagabond Players)
Visceral Company
VS. Theatre Company
Young Actors Ensemble

Seasonal or Regularly Producing Theaters of 99 Seats or Fewer

Finally, this list comprises the 26 seasonal or regularly-producing entities that used the old 99-Seat Theatre Plan and are now outside the purview of any membership rule/waiver/code:

Academy for New Musical Theatre
Blank Theatre Company, The
Bootleg Theater
Casa 0101 Theater
Crown City Theatre
DOMA Theatre Company (n/a; moving to a larger space)
Fountain Theatre*
Good People Theater Company
Greenway Arts Alliance Inc
Harold Clurman Lab Theater @ The Stella Adler Studio
Independent Shakespeare Company (has already moved to contract )
Kelrik Productions
Latino Theatre Company
Long Beach Playhouse (in 2015, immediately announced plans to go non-union)
Jewish Women’s Theatre (has already moved to contract )
Malibu Playhouse/Malibu Stage Company
Matrix Theatre*
Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
Playwrights’ Arena
Repertory East Playhouse
Santa Monica Playhouse
Sierra Madre Playhouse
Skylight Theatre Company*
The Theatre @ Boston Court
Theatre Planners
Victory Theatre Bare Bones*

*Principals of these organizations are also plaintiffs in the Asner v Equity litigation

ACTORS’ EQUITY

STANDING UP FOR OUR MEMBERS

OUR CORE MISSION

Before Equity, employers woefully undervalued actors. Actors were treated like indentured servants — expected to rehearse for weeks with no pay, purchase and maintain their own costumes, receive half pay during holidays. It led to a march up Broadway. It led to a union.

Equity was founded on the principle of negotiating proper compensation for its members. We believe that all workers are entitled to at least the legal minimum wage; actors and stage managers are no exception.  That’s why Equity has now made available three distinct contracts under which Los Angeles Equity members can be employed and paid, while preserving a variety of opportunities for members to volunteer (to the extent the law  allows).

NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR LA

We understand that there is a lot of fear about what these changes will mean for LA theatre.  Some of our members, as well as others within the Los Angeles community, are concerned that their thriving theatre scene will be burned to the ground in order to make way for new contracts.  In fact, the National Council believes that these contracts and codes will actually promote growth in Los Angeles, in a way that the former 99-seat model did not (i.e., why would a theater ever grow to contract when it was financially incentivized not to do so?).  And we believe this because we see our contracts working every day, in cities across America, to raise the bar for professional theatre while providing wages for actors and stage managers.  We stand ready to be a resource for producers who are struggling to understand how to keep their theaters afloat.  For more than a century, Equity has partnered with organizations who have successfully done just that.

STAGE PRODUCTIONS

In general, Equity members can work in one of two ways: contracts that are negotiated with employers and codes which allow actors and stage managers to work without benefit of contract.  While contracts (also known as agreements) are the primary priority for most unions, Equity understands that our members want to be able to practice their craft between paying jobs.  That’s why the National Council created a new LA Showcase Code, a self-producing code, and a membership company waiver: to allow actors and stage managers to maintain their skills.  Is the new LA landscape exactly the same as the previous one? No, but the old 99-seat plan allowed for up to 80 performances—which, at 3-5 performances per week, sometimes equated to a 6-month run—for as little as a $7 per day stipend and no pay for rehearsals.

There are now also three different contracts available in LA County, so Equity members can be employed and be paid at least minimum wage for their work in 99-seat productions in LA.

INVESTING IN THEATRE AND THE ARTS

The Preamble to Equity’s Constitution states “we hereby constitute ourselves to advance, promote, foster and benefit all those connected with the art of the theatre.”  That’s why Equity’s then-President Frederick O’Neal and other Equity representatives were instrumental in urging government support of the arts.  The result was the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts. Equity continues to work in support of ongoing financial assistance for the arts through participation in events such as National Arts Advocacy Day, and we firmly believe that there is an important role to be played by public and private funders of Los Angeles intimate theatre.  We look forward to supporting these types of initiatives.

EQUITY FOR ALL

When 112 actors gathered in May 1913 to form the union, one man – William Courtleigh – suggested that the name encompass what they were fighting for: actors’ equity.  They sought to improve wages and working conditions for actors in the American theatre.  Equity’s motto and song: “All for one and one for all.”

Telling Our Story

We’re proud to back our members
17
Exclusive Benefits

We provide crucial benefits, including work rules, auditions, access to health insurance, pension and 401K plans, agent regulations, and more.

50792
Members

We’re proud to represent more than 50,000 stage actors and stage managers.

103
Years

Throughout our history we have proudly represented our members by advocating for arts funding, standing up against discrimination and remaining a leader in the theatre industry.

 

A History of Equity

The B.E. (Before Equity) Era

Call the era B.E. (Before Equity): a time so far removed from present experience that it takes on the feeling of a folk tale. Rehearsals without pay, acting companies stranded on the road, performers paying for their own costumes. At one point, the then-president of the Theatrical Protective Union, which represented stagehands, told reporters that upon entering a theatre, he often did not know which sub-cellar was for the actors and which was for the coal.

Founded 1913

Actors’ Equity Association was founded by 112 actors at the Pabst Grand Circle Hotel in New York City. The first president of the union was comedian Francis Wilson. Actor, producer and director George M. Cohan said, “I will drive an elevator for a living before I will do business with any actors’ union.” (Later, a sign appeared in Times Square reading, “Elevator Operator Wanted. George M. Cohan Need Not Apply.” )

The 1920’s

“Go West, Young Man!” Equity heeded the call: After several trips to the City of Angels, the Actors’ Equity Association Los Angeles office officially opened in 1921.

The 1930’s

A group of Equity members, including three Councillors (Berton Churchill, Grant Mitchell, Ralph Morgan) and a West Coast rep (Kenneth Thomson), created the Screen Actors Guild in 1933.  The following year, Equity officially granted to SAG jurisdiction over film work.

The 1940’s

1942 saw the creation of Equity Library Theatre, a decades-long initiative for which Equity functioned as producer for showcase-style productions.  In addition to “providing idle performers with work,” ELT shows “were designed to show off the talents of union members in parts they might never land in conventional productions.  One reporter called it a kind of ‘Stillman’s Gym for stage folk,’ where underused artistic muscles were developed.” After 1950, a pay scale was instituted for the actors.

The 1950’s

When the Red Scare took hold of the entertainment industry, Equity was the only performing arts union to stand up against blacklisting.  In fact, Equity took the matter so seriously that it introduced anti-blacklisting clauses into its contracts and, in 1950, passed a series of anti-blacklisting resolutions.

The 1960’s

In 1960, Equity members went on strike for the first time in forty years, shutting down Broadway for ten days and resulting in the creation of the first employer-financed pension plan for an entertainment union.   In fact, it was because of the members’ determination and fight that other theatrical unions were also able to achieve pensions.

Equity continued its crusade for social justice, speaking up for equal rights and equal pay.  Actors’ Equity also appeared before Congressional committees nine times in support of government aid for the arts; the result was the federal agency that became the National Endowment for the Arts.

The 1970’s

A decade of diversification, the 1970s saw the introduction of the off-off-Broadway Contract, the Showcase Code, the Mini Contract, the COLT (later CAT) Contract, the Dinner Theatre Contract, and the Liaison system. Equity lobbied hard–and successfully–for the establishment of Manhattan Plaza, a government-subsidized housing complex for artists.  These new buildings became a major contributing factor to the revitalization of Theatre Row.

The 1980’s

The Waiver Wars took hold of LA County when Equity decided it was time to address the concerns of members who felt that there should be some kind of payment for their work in 99-seat theatre.  The union imposed a $5 stipend per performance and producers declared the move to be the death knell of intimate theatre. Like today, Equity members (some of whom are also plaintiffs in the 2016 litigation) sued the union.  The resulting 1989 out-of-court settlement agreement provided that the November 1988 version of the Los Angeles 99-Seat Theatre Plan adopted by Council could not be altered before 1991.

The 1990’s

Equity’s National Representation Plan allowed Council to retain decision-making power for the union as a whole, but delegated to the Eastern, Western and Central Regional Board’s the regular business within their regions.

Additionally, the ‘90s were a decade in which Equity organized Walt Disney World, approved the merger of Broadway Cares with Equity Fights AIDS and created an organizing department to deal with the growing number of non-Equity tours.

The 2000’s

In the new century, Equity reaffirmed its commitment to and support for equal rights for LGBTQI+ Americans, speaking out against legislation that sanctioned discrimination.  Equity supported marriage equality and the legislation that made marriage a reality for everyone.

Actors’ Equity Association celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2013.  The union became a direct member of the AFL-CIO and received a Special Tony Award to kick off the year-long celebration.

In 2014 – 93 years after Equity opened its first office there – the union purchased its own building in North Hollywood and now has a permanent home in LA.