Actors’ Equity Association and League of Resident Theatres Reach New Five-Year Agreement

New York -- Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, and the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), the largest professional theatre association of its kind in the United States, announced today that they have reached a tentative agreement for a new five-year contract.

The agreement remains subject to ratification by both Equity members and LORT members. 

“We are pleased to have come to a tentative agreement with LORT that guarantees fair wages while also making significant gains reflecting the hard work of stage managers, understudies and actors who play musical instruments on stage,” said Actors’ Equity Association Assistant Executive Director Andrea Hoeschen, who served as Equity’s lead negotiator on the agreement. “The mutual respect between Equity and LORT was palpable throughout the bargaining process, which resulted in an agreement that benefits both sides. The new contract features important advances in safety rules and equity, diversity and inclusion provisions. In return we agreed to terms that give employers opportunities to maximize their ability to rebuild and expand their audiences. In the receding wake of a pandemic that devastated the livelihoods of actors and stage managers and posed an existential threat to the well-being of LORT theatres across the country, we are grateful to the Equity members and the members of LORT who worked tirelessly through sleepless nights to find a path forward that met, and in some ways exceeded, both parties’ needs.” 

LORT is one of the largest employers of Equity members along with the Production Contract, and the largest not-for-profit employer, with 79 member Theatres located in every major market in the U.S., including 30 states and the District of Columbia. This agreement comes after months of work, beginning with bargaining over diversity and inclusion initiatives in the fall. Full bargaining began on February 22 in New York City and continued for three days in person. After further sessions over Zoom, both sides reconvened for three days in person starting March 22. The teams finally reached an agreement at approximately 4:30 a.m. on Saturday morning March 25. 

“On behalf of the League of Resident Theatres, we share the sentiment that these negotiations and our tentative agreement demonstrate the best way to navigate these challenging times is through creative problem-solving with compassion and understanding for both sides. Together we will rebuild the ecosystem that is our industry as we continue to recover from the devastating pandemic.  We need each other to thrive. And we are deeply grateful for the support of everyone that participated in this process to make that possible,” said LORT President Adam Siegel. 

The LORT agreement is Equity’s latest in building a new theatre industry in the aftermath of the pandemic shutdown of live arts nationwide. The union is focused on safer contracts that prioritize diversity and inclusion protections and are equipped to navigate public health emergencies, coverage that eases the pressure artists face to work when they are sick and wages that reflect the rising cost of living. 

Equity and LORT thank Federal Mediators Gemma Deleon-Lopresti and Nelson Rivera for their assistance in helping the parties reach this agreement. 

ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA. #EquityWorks 

THE LEAGUE OF RESIDENT THEATRES (LORT) is one of the largest employers of Equity members and the largest not-for-profit employer, with 79 member Theatres located in every major market in the U.S., including 30 states and the District of Columbia. 

March 27, 2023 

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