So you want to be an actor: Who are Equity
Equity, formed in 1930, is the Trade Union for actors and the entertainment profession. It's 35,000+ members include actors, singers, dancers, choreographers, stage managers, theatre directors and designers, variety and circus artists, television and radio presenters, walk-on and supporting artists, stunt performers and directors and theatre fight directors. Equity works on behalf of actors, lobbying to secure minimum terms and conditions of employment. In addition to their ongoing campaigning for better pay and conditions, Equity offer a casting service, advice and insurance. To qualify for membership you must have undertaken professional acting work. Subscription fees are 1% of your gross earnings (with a minimum of £90 and a maximum subscription of £1,750) plus a one-off £25 joining fee. If you're on a full-time accredited drama course you're eligible for student membership (£10 per year). Outlined below are some of the main benefits of joining Equity (taken from the Equity website).
Pay and Conditions
Equity negotiates minimum terms and conditions with employers across all areas of the entertainment industry. Copies of contracts and agreements are available from Equity Offices for a small charge.
Help and Advice
We can help you throughout your career, offering a range of services as well as advice. Our staff have detailed, specialist knowledge and are happy to give advice to members and their agents on contracts and terms of engagement.
The universally recognised symbol of your status as a professional in the entertainment industry
Free legal advice on disputes over professional engagements including personal injury claims.
Free advice on National Insurance, taxation, benefits, pensions and welfare issues.
Our quarterly magazine is sent free of charge to all members, keeping you in touch with Equity initiatives and activities. We also produce a wide range of information leaflets which are always available to members.
All members can use the British Performing Arts Medicine Trust Helpline to access advice and information on performance-related medical, psychological and dental problems.
Royalties and Residuals
We distribute royalties, residuals and other payments to members for tv and film re-runs, video sales and sound recordings.
Equity compiles a large number of specialist registers which are made available to casting directors and employers.
Equity members can access a service giving them information on job availability across the industry.
We campaign vigorously on behalf of our members on a wide range of national, local and specialist issues and we have a strong track record of success.
Your Professional Name
We reserve your choice of professional name when you join Equity, as long as it is not already in use by another member.
Public liability of up to £5million, backstage cover and accident cover are available free to all members as long as they are in benefit. Call First Act Insurance on 0208 686 5050 for more information
Rights, Copyright and New Media
Equity monitors national and international developments in intellectual property rights, campaigning for adequate recognition of performers' statutory rights.
We run two charities, the Equity Benevolent Fund and the Evelyn Norris Trust which exist to help members in times of trouble, call 0207 379 6000 for more information. Equity also supports other organisations which provide help specifically for performers.
The Equity Pension was set up in 1997 and if a member chooses to join, the BBC, ITV companies, PACT TV companies, BBC Radio and West End Theatre producers will pay into it when you have a main part with one of them. For more details see Film, Television and Radio. There is a similar scheme in place for opera singers and dancers in the standing companies.
Equity members are entitled to discounts on a range of services and goods including hotels, car breakdown recovery, ticket prices and others.
Upper St Martins Lane
tel: 020 7379 6000
fax: 020 7379 7001