Erin Koster

Eastern Stage Manager Councilor

I’m a founding member of #FairWageOnstage, the grassroots movement that demanded an end to decades of stagnation, and gave Equity critical leverage last fall in securing wage increases of up to 83% Off-Broadway. Now our #FairWageOnCouncil slate is running to ensure FAIR WAGES, INCLUSION, PARTICIPATION, and ENGAGEMENT for actors and stage managers nationwide.

I joined Equity a decade ago, and immediately took advantage of opportunities to participate. I’ve sat at the bargaining table and on many committees, much to the chagrin of my toddler, who would rather I build train tracks than argue against ASM concessions. On a grassroots level—even outside #FairWageOnstage—I’ve engaged in brainstorming sessions, member-driven initiatives, and founded the Unofficial AEA Stage Manager’s Facebook Page. Our Council needs my tenacity.

When I had my son, unfair contract wages forced me to take a hiatus from theater. These conditions cannot continue. Theater artists must be compensated fairly; we deserve to make the same life decisions as all middle-class workers. I’m a working-class stage manager, I understand life on the “lower” contracts, and mine is an essential voice for our governance as a labor union.

Beyond salaries, there are issues for stage managers that never advance: Distribution of duties, abuse of P.A./stage management distinctions, overtime, the Production glass ceiling, and definitions of work, to name a few. These are not trivialities to be discussed sporadically on committee; they are key and will require regular debates and research to reach solutions. As #FairWageOnstage has begun to break up the stagnation of wages, I will bring the same ambition and energy to break up sluggishness on stage management concerns.