Erin Maureen Koster
I chair Eastern Developing Theatre as well as a couple of working groups. I’m a vice chair of Young Workers, Parents Committee, Off-Off-Broadway, and am also the first vice chair of the Eastern Regional Board. And I serve on Stock, LORT, Stage Managers, Off-Broadway, Membership Education, Convention, another working group or two, and the Executive Committee.
Yes, actually. My kids have grown up in committee and council meetings.
Some people juggle. Some solve Rubik’s cubes. Some bake, puzzle, knit.
I govern a labor union. Oh! And I raise two kids!
I meet new members constantly and ask to hear their stories and their concerns. The process of listening, dreaming, questioning, brainstorming, and, most importantly, creating policy that can address the issues is as satisfying to me as checkmate is to Judit Polgár. (Love her!)
The same multi-tasking, problem-solving, and outside-the-box thinking that make me a good stage manager have made me a respected councilor. I have a particular talent for conceiving new solutions and then collaborating with fellow members and councilors to illuminate the path. I led the way in defining our new Equity policy on fair pay, and am now deep into its application.
Inspired by my work as Chair of the Eastern Developing Theatre Committee—overseeing the regions’ SPT, LOA, and Special Appearance agreements—I’ve authored a plan to streamline negotiations with independent producers, giving the union ultimate flexibility to consider each specific partner across the table. This plan, and the policy that guides it, will be crucial in the coming year: they give us leeway to consider how theatres are recuperating as we negotiate.
I have a unique instinct for threading needles while seeing the final product at the same time, and I am honored to serve at the pleasure of the membership. Your vote ensures the continuation of this trajectory-changing work I’ve been doing for our union the last three years.
I grew up in Michigan and Ohio, but have lived in New York my whole adult life. You can take the girl out of the midwest but you can’t make her stop calling her mother mahm.
I have two kids but I am NOT A FIRST GRADE TEACHER. #pandemicponderings
My Equity Card: 2007 on an LOA-NYC that paid me something like $270/wk. You can imagine why I was immediately eager to get involved. Was a real eye opener to be coming out of grad school with $75K of debt onto my first union gig and making less per month than just my rent bill.
How/Why is Equity and this work important to you?
I’m obsessed with the labor movements, the history of labor in the United States, and the fall of the working class. I’m deeply passionate about inspiring Equity members to take their place as unionized laborers in this country and to move the new new (new?) labor movement towards more economical equality for all Americans.
Is there anything else do you do in the world (volunteerism, side hustle, civic work) that informs your worldview and the experience you will bring to the Council room?
I’m involved with Parent Artist Advocacy League–PAAL is a national community, resource hub, and solutions generator for parents and caregivers in the performing arts and the institutions who support them. Goals include elevating the national standard of care for caregivers in our field through childcare support, eliminating discrimination, and creating opportunities. www.paaltheatre.com
I have also been the stage manager for the Women’s March NYC (after attending the first Women’s March in DC).
I love to engage with stage managers–I created the Unofficial AEA Stage Managers page and have worked with Amanda Spooner’s Tandem and the Year of the Stage Manager. All of this has lead to a wonderful, supportive community of stage managers across the nation.
What is a Fun Fact or something most people don’t know about you?
I was a competitive gymnast for years when I was a kid.
Where/What is your happy place?
Chairing a meeting in the Equity building. What can I say?
What is your Superpower, or what do you wish your Superpower could be?
My superpower is doing one million things at the same time. Like most stage managers!
What was your first ever stage production?
When I was in 8th grade, I was supposed to play the mom in a Christmas pageant. We had a snow day that day so my family assumed the pageant was delayed or off. They did it without me. I was absolutely devastated and I never tried acting again. Does that count? That’s kind of a sad story. The first show I ever stage managed was All In the Timing in college and I was immediately certain I had found my calling. I still have sappy feelings about Philip Glass and his loaf of bread.