As a student I’m always thinking about how I’m going to get that equity card (imagine reading that like a magical, glittery sign in the sky), but I sometimes don’t really stop to think about what I’m doing to my career when I get it. On the surface, yes, I know. I’ll be in a union. I’ll have an organization with my best interests supposedly at heart. I’ll also be limiting the the work I can and can’t take. I’ll be decreasing my options while simultaneously increasing them. If I want to work where I want to work, then the reality is that I need to become part of Actor’s (and stage management) Equity Association (AEA).
New York–my future home–has a fairly high rate of living, and if you weren’t aware…. money doesn’t grow on trees–not that there are much of those there. BECTU, the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union, is the UK version of IATSE/AEA/USA. They are currently fighting the battle over money with the Society of London Theatre (SOLT).
The bullet points of this article basically state that SOLT is refusing to increase the wage of the BECTU members to the living wage. They’re stating that they should just live in less expensive places. Guess what?! When you’re doing high end theatre, you’re pretty much forced to live in a city with a high living rate. This “negotiation” is bullshit. Why do we have to fight so hard for something that we need?
Why are we being forced to be starving artists?