An Equity Theatre
The 2014-2015 Season marked Dobama’s first as the region’s third full time Equity House. Dobama is designated as a Small Professional Theatre (SPT) level Equity Theatre. This formal commitment to professionalism is another step in creating first-rate productions of cutting-edge new plays for Northeast Ohio. Thank you for making it possible for Dobama Theatre to more fully support local professional theatre artists. To learn more about what this means for Dobama, the region, and you, read on or click the link below to read the Plain Dealer article about this historic move for the Greater Cleveland Theatre community.
WHAT IS THE ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION?
Actors’ Equity Association (“AEA” or “Equity”), founded in 1913, is the labor union that represents more than 49,000 Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. 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 and provides a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans, for its members.
WHAT DOES BEING AN EQUITY THEATRE MEAN?
An Equity Theatre is considered in the theatre industry to be a fully professional theatre. They pay union actors and stage managers a base rate as well as other benefits (health, pension, etc). An Equity Theatre can offer union membership, through an AEA contract, to any actor. Equity houses can also offer non-union actors Equity Membership Candidate “points”. After a certain number of weeks working at an Equity Theatre, a non-union actor can then enter the AEA union. It also means that the theatre operates according to the AEA rulebook (which regulates everything from rehearsal lengths and breaks to the washing of costumes).
WHY BECOME AN EQUITY THEATRE?
Dobama Theatre has a long history of producing high-quality productions of important new plays for the Greater Cleveland community. While Dobama used Equity actors and paid all directors, designers, non-union actors, and staff for over two decades, the formal process of becoming an Equity Theatre was an important step. It signaled a commitment to paying theatre professionals a more livable wage, allowed actors and stage managers the opportunity to work in an acceptable standard of professional working conditions, and was a visible and outward sign of the consistent level of theatre that Dobama Theatre produces.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR DOBAMA AUDIENCES?
It means that Dobama will continue to produce regional premieres of important new plays of the highest professional quality. As an audience member, you will be sure that the artists on the stage are some of the best the area has to offer and that those artists are being fairly compensated and working in an environment that is professional and most conducive to great art making.
does being an equity theatre INCREASE COSTS?
As an Equity Theatre, theatres incur the costs of paying health insurance for actors and hiring Equity Stage Managers. This means some added expenses that, for Dobama, total about $37,000 per year. Dobama Theatre continues to work with, and rely on, grant organizations and YOU, our donors, to support the high quality professional theatre that Dobama provides.
does DOBAMA STILL HIRE NON-AEA ACTORS?
Absolutely. In addition, we are able to offer non-union actors Equity Membership Candidate enrollment and points, giving those artists an opportunity to eventually join AEA. It is also important to state that the being an Equity Theatre guarantees that all employed at Dobama (union and non-union) are working in conditions in accordance with AEA rules.
*It is also important to state that whether an actor is a member of the union or not is no reflection on the quality of their work. However, this step should help many of the talented non-union actors gain acceptance in AEA through both contracts and the points system.
does DOBAMA OFFER HEALTH INSURANCE FOR AEA ACTORS AND STAGE MANAGERS?
Dobama Theatre offers health insurance weeks to union members.
does DOBAMA use AEA STAGE MANAGERS?
Dobama has two top-notch resident stage managers on staff. These two theatre artists will begin working exclusively under Equity contracts beginning the 2016-17 Season.
DOBAMA THEATRE’S MISSION IS TO
PREMIERE THE BEST CONTEMPORARY PLAYS
BY ESTABLISHED AND EMERGING PLAYWRIGHTS IN PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTIONS OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY.
Through educational and outreach programming, Dobama Theatre nurtures
the development of theatre artists and builds new audiences for the arts while
provoking an examination of our contemporary world.