Participation in the future life and profits of new works should be guaranteed us. Our contribution to the development process is essential, and must be compensated accordingly.
Stage managers and actors are an indispensable component in the development of new work. We are integral to the creation of the product, its growth and success, and its very presentation to the public. The rehearsal room is a creative incubator in which new works evolve through our minds, our bodies, and our physical labor. We play, invent, improvise, shape, risk, fail, learn, adapt, conjure, collaborate, experiment, and deliver.
Through countless readings, labs, workshops, and productions, our members have helped develop the most artistically, critically, and financially successful theatrical productions in history. And yet for too long our members have been investing in the futures of these works with no guarantee that their investments will bear fruit of any kind. #FairWageOnCouncil will demand that Equity guarantee its members are always fairly compensated commensurate with an employer’s ability to pay, including for any employment developing new works. Additionally, we will fight for Right of First Refusal across all contracts, Financial Participation across developmental contracts, and Oversight of all labs, workshops, and readings.
Right of First Refusal must be codified into more contracts. For too long we have been told this cannot be done. We must demand it. Job security is essential for the health of any industry, and the theater is no different. The level of investment that stage managers and actors put into developing new works can be intense, exhausting, and all-consuming. #FairWageOnCouncil believes Equity members should have an adequate and fair return on that investment, either in the form of job security or an appropriate buyout. Stage managers and actors are not disposable.
Financial Participation must be guaranteed across all developmental contracts. Too often, employers use contractual loopholes to bar stage managers and actors from potential future profit sharing. Our work directly contributes to a show’s profits, so we should share in those profits. #FairWageOnCouncil will ferociously advocate for the fair compensation of our members’ contributions to all new works being created in theaters across America.
Oversight of labs, workshops, and readings must be rigorous. Too often, producers use developmental work as a shortcut around rehearsal, and as a way of cutting creative labor out of profit-sharing. Equity staff and Councilors must be responsible for ensuring that these contracts are used as explicitly stated, and for protecting membership if infractions arise. Workshops and readings are not auditions; they are employment and should be treated as such. #FairWageOnCouncil will stand up against the exploitation of all Equity members.