Actors Walk Out On Theater Lab Productions In New Strike

Update with League statement Actors’ Equity Association and Broadway producers have reached what Equity is calling a “historic” agreement on a profit-sharing contract model for union members participating in early stage production development.

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With the agreement, Equity has removed the Broadway League, the producers’ trade association, from its DO NOT WORK list, ending the 33-day strike that precluded union members (actors and stage managers) from participating in the labs that have become an increasingly popular way to development musicals. The strike was Equity’s first in nearly 50 years.

“We are happy that we were able to successfully restructure the previous pre-production agreements,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “We are thrilled that our producers can now go back to the important work of developing the best theatre in the world.”

The new lab agreement includes profit sharing, higher wages and additional stage manager contracts, according to Equity.

With the end of the strike, all pre-production work sessions will be resumed, the League said.

According to an email Equity sent its members today, the new agreement includes three contract tiers to replace Equity’s existing Lab Agreement, Workshop and Stage Reading Contract with the League. Other contract details include:

  • A five-year term for salaries, with three increases over five years;
  • Profit sharing after a show recoups its initial investment;
  • Triggers that will result in an additional assistant stage manager contract;
  • A minimum guarantee of five weeks of rehearsal time for a Broadway musical and four weeks for a play;
  • Health and pension benefits

Equity declared the strike on Jan. 7 against members of the Broadway League – the producers’ trade organization – on new Broadway show development. Specifically, Equity was barring its members from taking part in the developmental lab sessions that writers and performers use to develop new productions, especially musicals. The strike also covered workshops and staged readings.

At the time, Equity said that weekly salaries under the lab agreement had been “frozen since 2007.” The union reportedly was seeking a pay raise over the then-current weekly $1,000 and a 1% share of any profit after recoupment for original cast members who participate in the developmental labs.

Deadline has reached out to the Broadway League for comment.

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