Please note: the Equity Membership Candidate Program is being phased out, and Equity stopped admitting new applicants to the EMC program as of May 8, 2023. Equity’s Open Access membership policy is now a permanent policy of the union. Going forward, Equity membership will be offered to all theatre workers who can demonstrate they have worked professionally as an actor or stage manager within Equity’s geographical jurisdiction. This means that anyone who would qualify to become an Equity Membership Candidate now qualifies to become a full Equity member. LEARN MORE

The Equity Membership Candidate Program (EMC) permits actors and stage managers in training to credit theatrical work in certain Equity theatres towards eventual membership in Equity. Candidates must complete at least 25 creditable weeks of work at any of the participating theatres. The weeks do not have to be consecutive and may be accumulated over any length of time. After accruing 25 weeks, members may also opt to enter "Phase II" and remain an EMC for up to 25 more weeks.

Members of any performing arts sister union (SAG-AFTRA, AGMA, AGVA, GIAA) would normally be required to sign an Equity contract when working in Equity’s jurisdiction. However, you may request a waiver of your professional status in order to train for the theatre. This allows you to work as an EMC for a maximum of 25 weeks. If you join another sister union after registering for the EMC program, you may choose to join Equity after 25 weeks, or you may continue to work through "Phase II" for a total of 50 weeks as a Member Candidate.

Equity Membership Candidate program logo


When you wish to join Equity, you must complete a membership application and pay the required minimum of the initiation fee. Your EMC registration fee will be credited against your initiation fee. You must be finished with all non-Equity contracts prior to joining.  Once you join Equity, you will also be subject to Basic dues and Working dues.

Equity policy does not permit the duplication of names among its members. Be aware that the name you use as a Membership Candidate may not be available when you become eligible to join Equity.

Please contact the nearest Equity office with questions or concerns regarding the EMC program.