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Equity Waiver Theater In Los Angeles



One of the nice things about Theater in Los Angeles, is that you don't have to be in the Union in order to be on stage. Because of what is known as "equity waiver", seaters that seat less than 99 people can put on productions with non-union actors.

In Hollywood, for many years actors that were in the unions were not allowed to participate in small non-union theatre productions. There were alot of exciting, new plays being produced as well as classics that afforded actors an opportunity to hone their skills between movie jobs or trying to get into the business.

These theater productions were great opportunities for actors to be seen by agents and casting directors. In order to solve the challenge for these union actors, an arrangement was created in 1972 by Equity, the stage actor's union. This agreement was called the Equity Waiver agreement (changed in 1988 to be officially known as "the 99 seat plan".

This code waives Equity rules in order to allow union actors to perform without a salary contract. However, to meet the plan rules, actors must receive between $7 and $15 payments per performance and free parking for the run of the show. Additionally, if the show becomes a hit, the producers of the show must then negotiate a regular Union contract after 80 performances of the play.

In the Los Angeles area Equity Waiver agreement, such theatres may not have more than 99 seats. This provision prevents producers from staging larger shows as "equity waiver" shows - and thus saving money on actor salaries. These 99 seat houses are great venues for new playwrights to develop their work, young actors to get experience and exposure, and established actors (often between projects) to keep themselves stimulated in the way that only live theatre can.

Additionally, you'll find many film and television stars working out new material or dusting off classical roles in these kinds of shows. Equity-waiver theatres are also one of the best kept entertainment secrets in Los Angeles. Audiences can see great performances by actors that you will often recognize, "up close and personal."

 

 
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