Tag Archives: performers

Equity: why you should join now

8 May

So you’ve heard of Equity but aren’t really sure what being a member means? No problem, we chatted to Kristin Mie Hamada from Equity’s membership relations department about the benefits of signing up. 

Why should actors join Equity?

It is vital that young actors join Equity because they are safeguarding the future of the performing arts.  As a trade union not only do we negotiate many of the contracts that actors work on, we also set rates of pay as a part of that negotiation process. By being a young member you are ensuring that now and in the future actors will have good conditions to work in, but also that they will receive adequate pay for the work they do!

Are there particular benefits for young members?

Equity provides a good safety net for young performers who might be less familiar with the industry.  For example if you work on a show and do not receive payment for the work you’ve done, you can give us a call and we can help you to sort that out.  Sometimes younger performers (and older ones as well) are unsure how long they should wait for their payment, and what their rights are, and if the payment doesn’t come they are not quite sure how to go about receiving it.  In addition if it comes down to a legal issue, then Equity provides legal representation as a standard benefit of membership, so if we have to go to court to get you a payment then your membership covers the legal costs.  We can provide that support and information to our young members to try to prevent something like this from happening again.

Do you encourage actors to get involved in campaigns?

We give young members the opportunity to be an activist for the arts.  Activism is a great thing, and performers feel very strongly about their industry.  As an Equity member, young actors can get involved and try to create positive change for themselves and other artists.  Our Young Members’ Committee actually got the ball rolling with all the low and no pay work, and really helped to move this campaign forward.  Now our Low/No Pay campaign is central to the work that we are doing as an organisation, and that was made possible by our young, active, members.

Are there any other benefits?

There are loads of benefits. Others would include creating a network with other artists who are members, saving your Equity name, access to tax and welfare advice, access to all our agreements and rates so you know what you should be earning, public liability insurance, accident and backstage insurance, the use of our website so you can create a profile for yourself so you are able to promote yourself, there are many discounts which you can take advantage of which are only available to members.

What do you have to do to join?

You have to fill in an application form and provide evidence of your paid work experience as a performer, theatre creative, or a stage manager in theatre.  Applying online is the quickest way to join.  Our requirements for how much evidence to provide varies.

What does having an Equity card mean?

An Equity card means professionalism.  It states, ‘I am a professional!’ because it demonstrates that the cardholder understands the range of support that Equity can provide to an individual and to the industry.

What kind of events and meetings take place?

You can find a list of specific events on our calendar which gives details about upcoming events.

Are there any specific opportunities for networking/meeting other people in the performing arts that come with joining Equity?

Members are encouraged to participate in their local branch meetings, which is a good place to meet other performers. Branch meetings are a time/place for discussing union-specific issues, activist opportunities and organising activism, and also expanding creative opportunities.

If anyone has additional questions they can email Kristin directly at khamada@equity.org.uk

Image used with permission from Equity.

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