As part of the Equity 2020 vision to create a more aggressive, inclusive and responsive Union by the year 2020, Actors’ Equity Association announced today a series of rule changes aimed at modernizing the Equity Membership Candidate (EMC) program, which allows actors and stage managers to earn credit towards eventual membership in Equity.
Under the new EMC program – effective immediately – participants will be eligible to join Equity after they accrue 25 creditable weeks of work – compared to 50 under the old program. After accruing 25 weeks, participants may also opt to enter "Phase II" and remain an EMC for up to 25 more work weeks.
"Equity Membership Candidates in different parts of the country have different needs and goals. This change brings the program into the time in which we live," said Kevin McMahon, Chair of the Entry to Equity Committee. "With this change, EMCs have more flexibility, more choices and ultimately they will have a better experience. I am thrilled Equity's National Council has embraced these changes with a unanimous vote of support.”
EMCs who have already earned 25 creditable weeks will be eligible to join Equity immediately. The initiation fee for those who join prior to Jan. 1, 2018 is $1,100. For those who join after that date, the initiation fee is $1,600, which is part of the new dues structure Equity members approved in September.
Other provisions of the EMC program remain unchanged. Among the key program rules: to accrue weeks, EMCs must complete an EMC registration form each time they work at a participating Equity theatre. EMCs remain eligible to join Equity within five years of achieving 50 weeks. And EMCs must finish any non-Equity work before they join the Union.
Established in 1978, the EMC program gives membership candidates time to work alongside Equity members at Equity theaters, progressively building experience that will serve their development and future employment prospects. There are currently around 13,318 active participants in the EMC program.