The Actors’ Equity Association was created in 1913 and is the oldest union for actors along with the Screen Actors Guild. This is a union which represents performers of theatre or productions on theatre. The association’s main goal is to ensure that all its members are paid commensurately and on time. They also make sure that the working conditions provided are suitable for an actor to perform properly. Aside from these, The Actors’ Equity Association takes care of the actor’s benefits, remuneration, and other areas of his career. The benefits included are health benefits, retirement benefits, having actors know in case auditions are being held for productions that are recognized by the association, and hold seminars and acting workshops for their members. They are also able to negotiate on the actor’s behalf for minimum rates paid on projects recognized by the association. The actors’ Equity Association is able to assist actors in various ways which help them in advancing their careers. There are a number of ways to be able to gain membership with this association. Here’s how you can join:
- One way of joining the association is through employment under a contract of the Equity. The applications for joining the association remain valid while the contract lasts. There are also certain types of contracts that require a certain length of time of employment before the application of membership becomes legitimate. You will be advised by the department on membership once you have joined.
- You may also join if you have been a member of any of its sister unions. These are the AFTRA or American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the AGMA or American Guild of Musical Artists, the GIAA or Guild of Italian-American Actors, and the SAG or Screen Actors Guild. You must have been a member with any of these for a minimum of one year and in good standing as a member. You must have also been performing within the jurisdiction of the union on a principal contract with extra or background work of at least 3 days.
- Another ways is by getting in touch with the Actors’ equity Association and letting them know that you will be performing in a forthcoming production that is associated with them.
- For non-resident aliens, there are certain restrictions on eligibility for membership. You will be required to give proof that you are a US citizen or have a Resident Alien status included in your application form in case you were not born in the United States.
Before joining the Actors’ equity Association, there are a few things to take into consideration. It is important to know that it is not a union’s job to find work for you or keep you working in case you do have a job. You will have to exert effort on that. However, the union can open up doors of opportunities for you such as giving you access to casting directors or agents via seminars and guilds which they sponsor. What happens after that is entirely up to you. If you maintain a good performance and work hard at your craft, the chances of your success are great. This is entirely on your hands.