If you are planning a fundraising benefit or telethon and wish to engage Equity actors and stage managers, you must clear your event through the Theatre Authority. 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 the intended beneficiaries 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 ensure the performers' comfort, convenience, and safety, as well as to protect artists from having their appearances recorded or reproduced. Finally, Theatre Authority provides a small amount of accident insurance that insures union participants against accidents on the way to, during, and on the way home from a cleared event.
In general, Theatre Authority will consider events that meet the following criteria:
- To be considered a “benefit” there must be a guaranteed, active fundraising component primary to the event.
- Rehearsals are limited to no more than 25 hours.
- The fundraiser may be presented no more than twice.
- Producing organizations may produce no more than two (2) fundraisers per year through Theatre Authority. Theatre Authority reserves the right to deny an application based on the frequency of an organization's benefits. (The criteria for frequency are subject to change.)
- Funds may be raised for a third party. If so, the application must include a copy of that organization’s 501(c)(3) tax exempt certificate and a communication from the organization stating both its awareness of the event and that it is to be the recipient of the funds raised.
- If your event does not meet these guidelines, please contact the Actors’ Equity office to discuss contract options for your event which would allow union members to participate.
Please note that benefits produced by The Entertainment Community Fund and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS may have other terms and conditions. ;If asked to participate in a benefit produced by (and not merely for) either organization, please contact Theatre Authority for more details (email@example.com).
THEATRE AUTHORITY INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROTOCOLS
Producers with a union agreement will be expected to maintain all safe and sanitary conditions of their union agreement, including any COVID or infectious disease protocols. All other producers are expected to apply best practices to minimize risks of exposure for the participants.
HOW DOES THEATRE AUTHORITY DERIVE ITS "AUTHORITY"?
The unions of the 4A's (“Associated Actors and Artistes of America”) have adopted resolutions and rules that give Theatre Authority jurisdiction over performances raising money 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 the Theatre Authority.
HOW MAY THEATRE AUTHORITY CLEARANCE BE OBTAINED?
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 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) tax exempt certificate 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 event and that funds 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 organization’s status with it.
Please complete the application form and return it to Joe Chiplock: by email (preferred) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to include a letter on company letterhead and a copy of the 501(c)(3) for all beneficiaries of your event.
Check out the Theatre Authority Frequently Asked Questions.
If your question isn't answered there, contact Joe Chiplock at (212) 869-8530 ext. 415 or email@example.com.