My name is Chris Harcum and I am writing you to voice my support of Erin Maureen Koster for Actors' Equity Council. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the League of Independent Theater. I am also a proud member of Actors' Equity, SAG-AFTRA, Dramatists Guild, and the Newspaper Guild. I believe in strong unions. At the same time, I completely support the creation of independent theater. Actors should be able to work on contracts when they are fortunate enough to land those jobs, and be able to create their own work to hone their craft and potentially gain future employment.
Independent theater is an important part of the NYC theater scene. It impacts the financial well-being of the city. It gives artists an invaluable chance to get their work seen in front of an audience in the best theater town in the world. It gives actors an alternative to paying for classes and auditions for industry people. It gives respect and recognition to some of our finest.
But the restrictions of the Showcase Code make doing this difficult.
Most showcases do not have enough time to rehearse. Frequently, word of mouth and press don't begin to drive audiences to these shows until the final weekend. Runs do not have the requisite number of performances to qualify actors for some awards. And the leap in cost to go from Showcase Code to a Mini or Off Broadway Contract has sidelined potentially successful runs of hits for many years.
Erin Maureen Koster is running for a Stage Manager slot on the Actors' Equity Council. You can read her statement here: http://kosterforcouncil.
wordpress.com/category/stateme nt/. Her two main positions are to get more union work for stage managers and to make positive changes in the Showcase Code.
I have already voted in support of Erin and encourage members of Actors' Equity to do the same. Voting is open until Wednesday, May 23. If you have signed up to e-vote you should have received an email with instructions. Otherwise, you should have received a paper ballot in the mail. If you want things to change for the Indie Theater community, please vote and forward this to all your theater friends to forward to all their AEA member contacts.
Like Erin on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com
As mentioned above, I don't work with AEA actors -- in part because of the difficulties that Chris Harcum notes in the message.
The vote is underway. There are two days left. If you participate in this organization, please look into this and the issues and exercise your vote.