"Live theatre is such an integral part of American history," AEA president Nick Wyman said in a statement. "It is a portal to our past, a mirror to our present, and a crystal ball to our future. In countless ways, the professionals who join with audiences nationwide to create each singular live stage experience have contributed to and influenced our culture and lives significantly over the past century. Our goal with this ambitious and exciting yearlong celebration is to elevate the American public's respect for the craft of acting and stage management and nurture a greater appreciation for the power and impact of live professional theatre."
Prior to a celebrity-packed live event to take place in April 2013, AEA has announced plans for celebratory events in New York City and across the country.
A kick-off event on June 5 in Times Square will welcome union members and fans for a live performance celebrating live theatre's legacy in American culture.
A multimedia touring exhibit, billed as "Behind The Curtain," will hit the road in a 53-foot cargo trailer that will showcase memorabilia and video clips from live productions.
A new book, "Performance of the Century: 100 Years of Actors' Equity Association and the Rise of Professional American Theatre," by Playbill's Robert Simonson, will be published by Applause Books in September. AEA will host roundtable discussions across the country with theatre professionals and high-profile actors. Local school students in each city will be invited to participate in Q&A sessions.
The union is also engaging members and fans via social networking through Facebook with "The Narrative Project," where union members and supporters can share their personal experiences, anecdotes and images. Visit Facebook.com/AEA100.
Details of the April 2013 centennial celebration in New York City will be announced later.
Actors' Equity Association was founded in 1913 and seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions, providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans. Actors' Equity Association is a member of the AFL-CIO and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions.