Equity Makes a ‘Gesture of Conciliation’

Share via

Actors’ Equity has attached a “grandfather clause” to its controversial Actors’ 99-Seat Theater Plan, which is scheduled to impose more stringent regulations on theaters with fewer than 100 seats as of Oct. 3.

Equity’s Western Advisory Board has voted unanimously to allow productions that open before Oct. 3 to continue under the old Equity-Waiver rules until closing. Under the old Waiver regulations, the union “waives” certain rules, and actors do not have to be paid.

The decision was made as “a gesture of conciliation,” said Equity’s western regional director, Edward Weston, who announced the decision on Monday. “It’s an effort to ease the transition. We want to give the opportunity for people who thought this might be reversed to not be punished for it.”


Dissidents within the union have made strenuous efforts to reverse the implementation of the new plan, but Equity’s national council voted unanimously last week to uphold it and to dismiss charges against the plan’s authors that were filed by 11 Equity members.

Those 11 actors may yet go to court to try to stop the plan.

Spokesman Tom Ormeny said Monday that the group hadn’t been able to meet since the national council’s decision, but that “Equity should not underestimate our resolve to find solutions to these problems. They’re not just going to go away.”

As for the “grandfather clause,” said Ormeny, “I don’t know if it’s particularly significant. It means there’ll be a lot of productions between now and Oct. 3. Long-running shows can continue. But a lot of those shows have already been paying their actors more than the plan requires.”