Actors' Equity AssociationVariant names
The Paul Robeson Award is presented annually by Actors' Equity Association to honor an individual for both artistic achievement and exemplary humanitarian service.
From the description of Paul Robeson award ceremonies collection [sound recording], 1978-1996. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 123489015
Actors' Equity Association (AEA) is the union of professional legitimate stage actors and stage managers. AEA negotiates contracts and agreements that often affect a productions theatre program. Over the years rules regarding billing, program biographies, and Equity recognition in programs have become part of these contracts and agreements. The Actors' Equity Association Theatrical Programs collection is made up of programs collected by the organization, its employees and friends from 1915 to 2001. The collection includes programs for productions in New York City, at regional theatres around the country as well as touring productions and Equity Library Theatre. The collection demonstrates the historical development and diversity of theatre in America during the 20th Century.
From the description of Actors' Equity Association : theatrical programs, 1913-2001. (New York University). WorldCat record id: 475461072
The Actors' Equity Association (AEA) is the labor union of professional theatrical performers and stage managers. It was founded in 1913 but did not gain full recognition as the bargaining agent for actors until the historic strike of 1919, followed in 1924 by the attainment of the closed shop. The AEA serves in the following capacities: to arbitrate contract disputes; establish bonding agreements to guarantee actors' salaries and transportation; provide protection from the importation of alien actors; license and control commission charges by theatrical agents; provide a pension plan (the result of the 1960 Broadway strike) and welfare fund; guarantee a minimum wage; conduct benevolent projects to assist the theater industry.
The union is governed by a directly elected delegate council, and a smaller executive committee. Several membership categories reflect the fluidity of theatrical employment. Approximately 38,000 actors hold Equity cards.
From the description of Records. (New York University, Group Batchload). WorldCat record id: 60851888
The Actors' Equity Association is an American labor union that represents theater artists and stage managers. Although founded in 1913 it was not officially recognized as a labor union until it joined the America Federation of Labor in 1919 and undertook a successful strike. In 1955 it merged with the Chorus Equity Association.
Actors' Equity has a strong record of supporting its members impartially and without bias. The organization opposed segregation as early as the 1940s, and in the 1950s (unlike its sister organization the Screen Actors' Guild) Actors' Equity refused to participate in the McCarthy era blacklisting of stage and screen stars accused of "un-American activities." It assisted the founding of the National Endowment for the Arts (1960s), fought to preserve historic Broadway theatres (1970s), and has taken a central role in raising public awareness of HIV/AIDS.
From the guide to the Actors' Equity Association Correspondence, 1919-1928, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)
The Actors' Equity Association collection is the largest of several collections at the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives devoted to labor unionism in the performing arts. Taken together, these materials comprise the largest archival resource on this subject in the nation. This body of material provides a wealth of information on the history of the American commercial stage and on labor relations in many branches of the entertainment industry.
The Actors' Equity Association is the union of professional legitimate stage actors and stage managers. It was founded in New York City in May 1913, by 112 actors committed to fighting the arbitrary work rules and low wages then prevalent in the American theatre. In July 1919, the American Federation of Labor chartered the Associated Actors and Artistes of America (known as the 4A's). Equity, with a membership of 2,700 was its largest component. With the support of the musicians' and stagehands' unions, a major strike for recognition followed in August 1919. The strike occurred in eight cities and closed thirty-seven productions while preventing sixteen others from opening. This "revolt of the actors" swelled Equity's membership, instigated the formation of the Chorus Equity Association (CEA), and won a strong five-year contract between the union and the Producing Managers Association. From the beginning, Equity fought for the principal of arbitration of contractual disputes. From the beginning, Equity's headquarters have been in New York City; it also maintains branch offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. Equity is governed by its delegate Council, elected by the membership.
In 1924, Equity achieved its goal of closed shop agreements and continued to make basic improvements in actors' contracts. Bonding provisions guaranteed salaries and transportation (1924); restrictions were placed on alien actors' activity in American theatres (1928); franchising of agents was established (1929); a minimum wage was guaranteed (1933); and minimum rehearsal expenses were paid (1935). Under the auspices of the 4A's, Equity-affiliated screen actors attempted to organize the burgeoning motion picture industry in the 1920s, but were frustrated in their efforts. In 1934, the 4A's jurisdiction over screen actors was handed over to the newly formed Screen Actors Guild.
From 1950 on, Equity began to organize the industrial shows field and subsequently regional, children's and dinner theatres. Chorus and Actors' Equity merged in 1955. A safe and sanitary code for backstage working conditions was established, and minimum rehearsal payments were established. The Pension and Welfare Plan was achieved only after a strike -- the twelve-day Broadway Blackout of 1960.
In the field of civil rights, the union initiated a boycott of segregated theatres in 1947, targeting the National Theatre in Washington, DC. Subsequently Equity's policies against segregation were extended to all theatres which discriminated against either performers or patrons with regard to race, color or creed. In recent years this principle has been extended to include discrimination on sexual preference or political persuasion or belief. In 1982, Equity adopted an affirmative action policy to increase employment opportunities for ethnic minorities and women.
Equity's uncompromising support of its members who were affected by blacklisting and other forms of official and informal persecution during the McCarthy era was almost unique in the entertainment industry and among labor unions in general. On September 28, 1951, after several members had been blacklisted and denied the opportunity to work in television, Equity's Council passed a resolution stating that blacklisting was "hostile to the fundamental purposes of this Association, and that Actors' Equity will act to the fullest of its capacities in defense of its members."
Equity's union work has always extended beyond contractual jurisdiction in actors' lives. Benevolent projects are at the heart of much of the union's functions. Actors' Equity Foundation has a theatre grants program, while a credit union provides credit and financial services to members. The Foundation also aids theatres suffering unforeseen catastrophes, contributes to the Actors' Fund of America, the charitable arm of the theatrical unions, and funds certain worthy theatrical projects. Equity also assists Save the Theatres, Inc., a not-for-profit body whose purpose is the preservation of important old theatre houses.
The early records of Actors' Equity include materials created by or relating to a number of luminaries of the theatre, including W.C. Fields, Helen Hayes, Fanny Brice, Eddie Cantor, Florenz Ziegfeld, Basil Rathbone, Maurice Evans, Anita Loos and many others. These famous names constitute only a few of the actors, directors, producers, agents, and other theatrical personalities whose work is chronicled in the Equity collection. This material offers a vivid glimpse into the lives and stage careers that have made up twentieth-century American theatre. The General Files series includes documentation of the presidencies of Ralph Bellamy, Frederick O'Neal and Theodore Bikel, as well as the issues of agents' commissions, pensions, health benefits and housing.
- Alfred Harding, The Revolt of the Actors(New York: William Morrow and Co., 1929).
From the guide to the Actors' Equity Association Records, Bulk, 1913-1991, 1913-2007, (Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives)
Actors' Equity Association (AEA) is the union of professional legitimate stage actors and stage managers. It was founded in New York City in May 1913, but did not gain full recognition as the bargaining agent for actors until the historic strike of 1919.
AEA negotiates contracts and agreements that often affect a productions theatre program. Over the years rules regarding billing, program biographies, and Equity recognition in programs have become part of these contracts and agreements.
The bulk of the programs in this collection came from Paul Ross. An Equity stage manager, Ross was the publisher of the Players' Guide, a compilation of actors' photographs and credits arranged by sex and type. He collected these programs from Equity representatives who attended shows as well as from his own participation. He used them primarily to check credits for inclusion in the guide.
The staff of Actors' Equity also uses programs to determine if all contractual obligations have been fulfilled and if a member is under the correct contract (principal or chorus). Some of the programs in the collection, most often from the 1930s, include notes but it is unclear under what circumstances these notes occurred since Equity would usually put a program with notes in an individual production file.
Demonstrating the enormity and diversity of theatre in America during the 20th Century, the collection gives more than just a list of players in a given production. The programs offer a look into how productions were presented, how advertising changed over the years, and how some productions continue to be produced generation after generation.
From the guide to the Actors' Equity Association: Theatrical Programs, 1915-2001, (Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives)
Actors' Equity Association (AEA, Equity), the premiere theatrical performers' labor union in the United States, was founded in New York City in 1913 as the first of the American actors' unions. In July 1919, the American Federation of Labor (later to be the AFL-CIO) granted a charter to Equity as an autonomous branch of the newly-formed Associated Actors and Artists of America. One month later, Equity called the first actors' strike in the history of the American theater.
Today Equity's jurisdiction covers both actors and stage managers in the professional theater. It is governed by a council of delegates elected by its membership. Its headquarters are in New York City; it also maintains branches in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Orlando, Florida.
- For further historical information on the Actors’ Equity Association and to review the scope and contents of its records, see Guide to Records of the Actors’ Equity Association(Wagner #11). See also About Equity -- A Handbook(New York: Actors’ Equity Association), and the Actors’ Equity Association website: http://www.actorsequity.org/home.html.
From the guide to the Actors' Equity Association Photographs, 1900-1974, (Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive)
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|New York (N.Y.)|
|Los Angeles (Calif.)|
|Los Angeles (Calif.)|
|Los Angeles (Calif.)|
|New York (State)--New York|
|New York (State)--New York|
|New York (N.Y.)|
|New York (N.Y.)|
|Blacklisting of entertainers|
|Dance and theatre|
|Labor unions, Actors, United States, Correspondence|
|Radio and television|