Actor's Equity Association, which was founded in 1913, is a trade union that ensures stage actors receive fair and equal treatment. Recognising that theatre companies and audiences differ by location, this organisation has negotiated separate agreements, or contracts, for different areas of the country. These agreements cover such topics as working conditions, breaks, costumes, grievances and salaries.
The standard Broadway agreement, which lasts until September 25, 2011, covers both productions that originate on Broadway and those that tour the country from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or San Francisco. As with all Equity agreements, wages are negotiated in weekly increments, which can be multiplied by 4.3 to determine the monthly salaries. For example, the minimum salary for an actor in a musical or play is £1,074 per week or £4,619 per month. Split-week tours pay £2,660 per month. The term "split-week" refers to weeks during which actors work less than the full week. Additions to the salary, or increments, include £52 a month for playing a chorus or speciality part, £214.8 for being a dance captain and £52 for incurring extraordinary risk.
The off-Broadway agreement, which lasts from November 7, 2011 until November 4, 2012, covers New York City productions that are not considered Broadway plays or musicals. Salaries depend on the number of seats in a theatre. For example, actors in a theatre with 100 to 199 seats earn a minimum of £1,520 a month. But in theatres with 200 to 250 seats, they make £1,780, and in theatres with 251 to 299 seats, they get £2,056. In theatres with 300 to 350 seats, they earn £2,414.8, and in theatres with 351 to 499 seats, they receive £2,707.
Bay Area Theaters
The Bay Area Theaters agreement, which expires on July 20, 2014, covers six equity playhouses located in the Bay Area of California, which includes San Francisco and nearby cities. Salaries here depend on the number of years a show runs and the gross receipts of a show. For example, in the first year, actors make a minimum of £566 per month for Intro Tier theatres that gross up to £1,819 per week. However, Tier 5 theatres, which gross £16,250 or more, must pay £1,604. In the fourth year of a show, actors in Intro Tier theatres make £600 per month, while those in Tier 5 theatres earn £1,701. Increments include £41 per month for understudying a role, £41 for playing an additional part and £41 for parts involving extraordinary risk.
Chicago Area Theaters
The Chicago Area Theaters agreement, which lasts until June 26, 2011, covers equity theatres in Chicago, Illinois. Salaries depend on the income of the theatre. For example, actors in Tier 1 theatres receive a minimum £575 per month, those in Tier 3 theatres make £911, and those in Tier 6 theatres make £2,015. Increments include an additional 5 per cent of the tier minimum for fight captains, who are in charge of staging fights; 3 per cent of the tier minimum for understudying a principal part; and 2 per cent of the tier minimum for understudying a chorus part.
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