Equity and Off-Broadway League Have a New Contract

News   Equity and Off-Broadway League Have a New Contract
 
Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional stage actors and stage managers, and the Off-Broadway League, the trade association that represents commercial and non-profit Off-Broadway theatres and productions, have reached a new three-year agreement, the union announced on Feb. 16.

The new contract will extend to Nov. 4, 2012.

Highlights of the agreement include:

  • Salary increases in the first and third years of the agreement, with retroactivity to Nov. 9, 2009.
  • An expanded ability to use recorded material in new media outlets. "Such use requires a media payment of one half percent of minimum weekly salary in years one and two and a one and a half percent of minimum weekly salary in year three."

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  • For the first time, replacement auditions are required for long-running shows.
  • Members of the Off-Broadway League may now produce shows in the Broadway Box (the midtown theatre district) in Off-Broadway-sized houses of 499 or less without paying a salary premium. This would not apply to any productions that have been on Broadway within six months of the Off-Broadway opening.
  • Actors who perform in productions that fall under the D and E categories in the Off-Broadway agreement may no longer leave for more remunerative employment and then return to the production. In the A, B, and C categories, actors may leave for no longer than two weeks and only then if it is for employment on an entertainment union contract. (For the uninitiated, the lettering refers to the size of the houses: A = 100-199 seats; B = 200-250; C = 251-299; D = 300-350; E = 351-499. For the A category, a combination of box-office receipts and house size determines salary.) According to the annual study of employment, earnings, membership and finance conducted by Actors' Equity Association, there were 6,127 workweeks for Equity members in the 2008-09 season, compared to 7,083 workweeks in the 2007-08 season. On a weekly average, there were 13 Off-Broadway companies during the 2008-09, and the average weekly salary was $647.

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    The Off-Broadway League is a trade organization "dedicated to fostering increased awareness and interest in Off-Broadway theatre and supporting the creation of new theatrical productions." Known for presenting the Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Achievement Off-Broadway, other major programs include Free Night of Theatre, Live Theatre Week, On the House in conjunction with NYC & Company, and other industry-wide marketing initiatives.

    Founded in 1913, Actors' Equity Association represents more than 49,000 professional stage actors and stage managers nationwide. Equity "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.

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