What Is Actor’s Equity Association?

By Darryl Green

  • The Actor’s Equity Association is an actor’s union that represents actors who perform in theatre or theatrical productions. The Actor’s Equity Association, or Equity for short, was formed in 1913 and is the oldest of all the other major actor’s unions (Screen Actor’s Guild and AFTRA). Equity was formed to ensure that actors were treated fairly by producers.

    Equity ensures that actors are paid fairly and in a timely fashion. It ensures that actors are able to perform their crafts in reasonable working conditions. It also handles benefits, salaries and other aspects of the actor’s careers.

    How Does Actor’s Equity Association Help Actors?

    The Actor’s Equity Association helps actors in a number of ways. In particular, Equity provides benefits and contractual representation, as well as other services that help actors further their careers.

    Benefits Include:

    • Equity negotiates the minimum rates at which actors must be paid for Equity-recognized projects.
    • Health benefits for actors
    • Retirement benefits, such as 401k and pension
    • Alerting actors to auditions for productions that are recognized by Equity
    • News bulletins
    • Seminars on acting and other topics

    How Can I Join Actor’s Equity Association?

        Actors can join the Actor’s Equity Association in a number of different ways. The most common ways of joining Equity are as follows:

    • Actors can join Equity by simply working in or on an Equity-recognized production for a number of weeks. You can find out whether or not a production is an Equity by asking the producer or by contacting Equity.
    • Actors can join Equity if they have been a member of another major actors union, such as the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) or the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists (AFTRA), and have performed as the principal performer while being a member of that union.
    • Actors can also join Equity by contacting Equity and proving to the union that they are going to be performing in an upcoming production that is affiliated with Equity.

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