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Theatre Authority

To organizations planning benefits or telethons:

Theatre Authority:
A Sponsor's Guide

For Enlisting The Services Of Professional Performers And Stage Managers

Before professional talent and fundraising organizations can get together, Theatre Authority must be contacted.
Theatre Authority is a nonprofit organization that administers and regulates the free appearances of performers and provides assistance to members of the theatrical community.

Theatre Authority investigates whether charities are legitimate; protects artists from unfair demands on their time and talents; sets standards, which provide some assurance that a reasonable net profit for the beneficiary can be achieved; and regulates conflict in scheduling local and national telethons. Theatre Authority has also established rules and regulations to insure the performers' comfort, convenience and safety, as well as to protect artists from having their appearances be recorded or reproduced. Finally, Theatre Authority provides a small amount of accident insurance that insures against accidents on the way to, during, and on the way home from a cleared event.

The unions of the 4A's (Associated Actors and Artistes of America) have adopted resolutions and rules that give Theatre Authority jurisdiction over performances for nonprofit and charitable organizations. Theatre Authority determines terms and conditions for the events that it clears. The rules of each performer union prohibit members from appearing in a professional capacity at any event that is not cleared and approved by Theatre Authority.

If your organization plans to use professional performers or stage managers in connection with a fundraising event, please download an application form entitled "Theatre Authority Application." Make sure to include a short note on company letterhead requesting permission for your specific benefit indicating the names of all union performers and partner organizations (if there are any others involved). We request a minimum of 30 days notice, if possible, so that you can receive clearance before you begin publicizing and selling tickets for your benefit.

All applications MUST be accompanied by a copy of the 501(c)(3) letter from the IRS for each beneficiary. If the application warrants approval, Theatre Authority will issue formal clearance, which must be signed by a duly authorized representative of the sponsoring organization. Requests and approvals must be in writing for the protection of all parties, and must be received by Theatre Authority prior to the benefit performance. If you are raising money for a third party, have the beneficiary send a brief note on their letterhead indicating that they are aware of the benefit and any funds that will be raised on their behalf. If you plan a benefit for multiple beneficiaries, please include the percentage breakdown for distribution of funds. If you are fundraising under fiscal sponsorship of an umbrella organization, like Fractured Atlas, The Field or NYFA, please submit a letter from the umbrella organization confirming your organizations status with it.

Once we receive your application, we will be in touch regarding the application fee and contributions, should it be required. The administrative fees and contributions made by organizations to Theatre Authority on behalf of performers and stage managers, who are giving so freely of their time and talents, are used solely for the benefit of needy, sick and indigent performers. All monies collected by the Theatre Authority are donated to The Actors' Fund of America. All checks are to be made out to The Actors' Fund.


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