Actors' Equity Changes Rules for NYC Showcase Productions

News   Actors' Equity Changes Rules for NYC Showcase Productions Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers, announced changes to the Basic Showcase and Seasonal Showcase codes for small-budget independent productions in New York City.

These Off-Off-Broadway "code" productions are presented in theatres of 99 seats or less, but should not be confused with shows that operate under actual Equity contracts in houses this size.

The AEA Showcase Code allows Equity members to participate in productions in small theatres without the benefit of an Equity contract. The members receive no salary or benefits, and the performance and rehearsal schedules are limited in number.

"Basic" code addresses independent producers who are staging one-time-only productions.

"Seasonal" refers to not-for-profit producers who regularly produce shows within a season.

The modifications made include allowing "more flexibility in rehearsal time," increasing "budget caps for Basic Showcase to reflect today's economics" and creating "uniformity in rehearsal time for both Codes." Last season saw approximately 1,000 Basic Showcase and Seasonal Showcase productions in New York City. The number is consistent with past years, according to AEA.

For the Seasonal Showcase, the "annual gross income figure" at which producers must use the Seasonal Showcase Code is increased to $60,000 per season. Performances may now be held over six consecutive weeks.

Language has been added, "clarifying the performance schedule of Seasonal Showcase Code productions."

Maximum ticket price for Seasonal Showcase productions has been increased to $25, from $20.

For the Basic Showcase Code, the maximum budget amount is increased to $35,000 per show, from $20,000. This budget amount now excludes the reimbursement stipends paid to Equity members.

Also increased is the rehearsal period: five weeks, rather than four, are now allowed.

The AEA Showcase Code is not technically an Equity contract, but is "promulgated by Actors' Equity Association to allow its members to participate in productions in small theaters without the benefit of an Equity Contract. The members receive no salary or benefits and the performance and rehearsal schedules are limited in number. The terms of the code, created by and for the members, are designed to protect both the Equity actors and the interests of those theatres in New York City that operate under an Equity contract."

The 2009 code changes are the result of the work conducted by the Off-Off-Broadway Committee, which is comprised of members who have worked under the code, some of whom have produced code shows.

The updated Codes can be found in the Document Library at ActorsEquity.org. For further information contact showcasenyc@actorsequity.org.

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