Equity vs. non-Equity?

Claire
Claire

January 10th, 2009, 3:51 am #1

Could somebody please explain the difference between an equity production and a non-equity production? I don't understand anything about unions and that sort of thing, so explain it to me like I'm a five year old. Thanks!
Quote
Share

Meghan
Meghan

January 10th, 2009, 4:17 am #2

Ok. So in theater there is a union called Actors Equity Association. Actors who are on broadway, some tours, and some other professional productions are members of Equity. Equity has set rules to protect actors regarding the amount of money actors must be paid, how they must be treated etc. When the annie tour was equity they always traveled by plane unless it was a very short distance, they would ussually spend at least a week or more in one city, they were paid much more, and the girls had a hotel classroom rather than tutoring on the bus. now that the tour is non equity, the quality is lower. actors are paid considerably less, they travel in a bus for very long hours, spending one night in most cities, there are fewer days off, the venues are smaller, often they cant use all their sets. many feel that the actors are less talented, i disagree with this but they definately are usually younger and less expirienced. The production company saves a lot of money by being non equity and continue to advertize it as a broadway quality show with broadway level prices and they still rake in lots of cash. a non equity tour is much harder on the actors, and they get paid less.
Quote
Share

Claire
Claire

January 10th, 2009, 5:42 am #3

Thank you so much! I understand things a LOT better now!
Quote
Share

mindy
mindy

January 10th, 2009, 4:32 pm #4

Ok. So in theater there is a union called Actors Equity Association. Actors who are on broadway, some tours, and some other professional productions are members of Equity. Equity has set rules to protect actors regarding the amount of money actors must be paid, how they must be treated etc. When the annie tour was equity they always traveled by plane unless it was a very short distance, they would ussually spend at least a week or more in one city, they were paid much more, and the girls had a hotel classroom rather than tutoring on the bus. now that the tour is non equity, the quality is lower. actors are paid considerably less, they travel in a bus for very long hours, spending one night in most cities, there are fewer days off, the venues are smaller, often they cant use all their sets. many feel that the actors are less talented, i disagree with this but they definately are usually younger and less expirienced. The production company saves a lot of money by being non equity and continue to advertize it as a broadway quality show with broadway level prices and they still rake in lots of cash. a non equity tour is much harder on the actors, and they get paid less.
I had said some time ago (November 07) I would never post on this site again because people had assumed I was someone I was not when I had posted a comment saying I liked the cast I had seen with Amanda. For some reason it was assumed I was someone touring with the cast. I recognize Meghan's name as someone who "stuck up" for me and just wanted to say thank you. It really was nothing more than a comment by someone who has seen the show several time and has nothing to do with the theater. Thanks again, Meghan. Still in St. Louis. Mindy
Quote
Share

x-tour person
x-tour person

January 10th, 2009, 6:23 pm #5

Ok. So in theater there is a union called Actors Equity Association. Actors who are on broadway, some tours, and some other professional productions are members of Equity. Equity has set rules to protect actors regarding the amount of money actors must be paid, how they must be treated etc. When the annie tour was equity they always traveled by plane unless it was a very short distance, they would ussually spend at least a week or more in one city, they were paid much more, and the girls had a hotel classroom rather than tutoring on the bus. now that the tour is non equity, the quality is lower. actors are paid considerably less, they travel in a bus for very long hours, spending one night in most cities, there are fewer days off, the venues are smaller, often they cant use all their sets. many feel that the actors are less talented, i disagree with this but they definately are usually younger and less expirienced. The production company saves a lot of money by being non equity and continue to advertize it as a broadway quality show with broadway level prices and they still rake in lots of cash. a non equity tour is much harder on the actors, and they get paid less.
When I was involved with the tour a few years back - it was during one of the non-equity spans.
We traveled by plane (once by train because it was a 4 hour drive) and we stayed in each City for the entire week. We played HUGE venues and used the entire set. Tutoring was done in a classroom in the hotel. The hotels were VERY nice/fancy and the houses we played were also extremely nice.
The only truth to what you say is the lower pay and the treatment of the kids/cast!
Quote
Share

also an ex-tour member
also an ex-tour member

January 10th, 2009, 7:54 pm #6

yes, we did play huge venues but many of the stops were one-nighters in dingy dumpy Motel 7 types. The kids did the majority of their schoolwork on the bus because we were travelling so much, sometimes 8+ hours on the bus between cities. A few plane trips, but majority was bus and only occasionally lucky enough to stay a full week at one place. The pay was so poor that many roomed 4 to a room, to cut costs. And yes, they do advertise it as 'Broadway' with the same high ticket prices which is a bit misleading to the public.
Quote
Share

Jessica
Jessica

January 10th, 2009, 10:44 pm #7

I think that it is misleading to advertise any tour, equity or not, as "Broadway" because many naive theatre goers assume that they are seeing the same cast that they saw perform on the Tony's. It gives the impression that the Broadway production has picked up and begun traveling.

Last year I toured Equity for the first time, and it wasn't very different from my non-equity experiences. Granted it I was signed on as a ASM (in addition to being a performer), so it wasn't your typical big Equity musical, but the production company followed equity's procedures and policies. I don't feel magically more talented now that I have my Equity card.

If I can't find work at all, I plan on dropping my Equity status, because I would rather tour non-union and get to perform than sit around with an equity status that I have nothing to do with. But I'm giving life as an Equity actor a shot.
Quote
Share

Tony
Tony

January 11th, 2009, 5:18 am #8

The biggest difference are your rights as an actor when you are in the union! You are protected and there are rules the producers have to follow ie: performance and rehearsal conditions, breaks (for an equity show you HAVE to have a five min. break every hour or a 10 min every hour and a half when you're in rehearsal). It's just better for the actors to be on an equity tour....oh plus you get health insurance weeks and pension.
Quote
Share