Eastern Chorus

Wally Dunn

New York, NY

I serve on 16 committees: ACCA, Casino, Deputy, Eastern Developing Theatre, Election Procedures, International Actors, LORT, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, Membership Ed, Principal, Production, Stock, SETA, Show Development Sub-Committee, and the Equity P & H Trustee Caucus as an Observer. 

#FairWageOnCouncil

Since 2018 I’ve had two out-of-town Equity jobs. Ideally, I’d make job decisions based on artistic merit, but in truth, I consistently end up having to make decisions based on how to keep my family’s health care, pay our rent, somehow stay afloat.

There’s another path — based on the simple philosophy that Stage Managers and Actors deserve a #FairWage: a sustaining wage that recognizes our unique contributions and ensures the rent is paid with some left over.

We have a privilege hurdle in this country; a #FairWage begins to clear a lane for artists from all backgrounds who aspire to, yet cannot afford, a career in the Arts. Our collective future is improved and enriched when previously sidelined members gain access and bring their ideas to the debate. #FairWage makes space at the table. It’s a leveler of discourse. It confers dignity. That’s what a fair wage can accomplish. That’s what a win looks like.

We’re in a unique moment in which delivery methods for our labor and artistry are temporarily shifting. We have the opportunity to codify these methods with pay structures that treat imperiled theaters with the same understanding and insight we ask them to treat us. Our defining trait of collaborating with one another has been a long rehearsal for just this moment.

I ask for your vote. I’m ready to join our effort toward a vital future. I’m ready to lean across the table and demand a #FairWage.


Personal Statement

I was born and raised in Warwick, RI. After stops in Providence and Storrs, CT, my wife, Margaret and I live in Hell’s Kitchen, NY. (Currently, we are sheltering-in-place in Bluffton, SC where we care for her dad.)

Margaret and I live in NYC, long for Maine, and continue the search for the land of eternal autumn.  And dogs.  We want dogs.

My Equity Card: I earned my card in a production of Oh, Kay! at Theatre Factory, St. Louis which came with Lesson #2 of Show Biz Fickleness.

How/Why is Equity and this work important to you?

I lend a hand at Equity because it connects me to a rich legacy.  A legacy of benefits we enjoy today envisioned and championed by those who came before us.  I consider those benefits a debt payable to current and future members.  My service on committees, negotiating teams, and I hope on Council, is where I best repay my share of that debt.

Is there anything else do you do in the world (volunteerism, side hustle, civic work) that informs your world view and the experience you will bring to the Council room?

This may sound odd.  It’s neither volunteerism nor side hustle, it’s care-giving. Tending to and caring for my in-laws is an unforeseen gift.  Losing my parents relatively young, I bypassed that part of life when the child parents the parent.  Experiencing life at a fragile, slower pace is a deepcut lesson in patience.   And humor.  And kindness.  And dignity.  Traits I will bring back to Council.

What is a Fun Fact® or something most people don’t know about you?
Little known fact: I studied pre-med, political science and business in college before I snapped out of it and became a theatre major. 

Where/What is your happy place?
Owls Head, Maine.  It looks just like you imagine it does.

What is your Superpower, or what do you wish your Superpower could be?
I’m an incredibly good parallel parker.

What was your first ever stage production?
High school production of Man of La Mancha, understudy to Sancho. 
Fun fact:  The guy who won the role of Sancho was an all-New England harrier.  He opted for his running gig, I moved up.   Lesson #1 in Show Biz Fickleness?  Be ready.  Check.