Industry to celebrate Equity milestone

31 August, 2014 by Don Groves

Actors Equity is marking its 75th anniversary with a two-day summit on creativity and diversity.

Performers, producers, directors, writers, casting directors, agents, artistic directors, network and broadcast executives and digital strategists will assemble for a series of panels, workshops, in- conversations and key note speeches.


Equity 75: A Summit of Creativity and Diversity will be staged at the Sydney Theatre Co. from October 26-27. The topics will include brand-building, the art of the audition and the roles of producer and women in theatre.

Running parallel to the conference will be the chance to meet with casting directors for round table discussions.

Equity says, “Thanks to the strength and unity of our members we have won residuals, rehearsal pay, overtime, annual leave and so much more. Equity continues to improve wages and conditions for performers every single day. Equity campaigns and lobbies for an industry that treats performers with respect, values local content, embraces diversity; one in which culture thrives and art is celebrated for art’s sake.”

Equity members are paying tribute to the organisation in messages posted on its website, including:

Claudia Karvan: I joined Equity in 1986 because we actors can be a disparate group and there is strength in numbers… Thanks for all the advice over the years and for giving actors a voice and helping safeguard our industry in order for it to prosper.

Georgie Parker: I remember when I started out as an actor at 18, that it was a glorious thing to not only be employed, but to have the opportunity to be able to audition for a role. After jumping through hoops and ticking the "can ride a horse " box , you finally had a script, wardrobe fittings , rehearsals . You were "in". On my first job the senior actors were talking animatedly about "Actors Equity ", the work they did , the meetings that were on and having a sense of no matter what occurred , equity would have our back . I remember vividly the hard won battles of daily rates, striking over the basic wage for actors, endlessly campaigning for theatres to keep their doors open. All through the power and vigilance of Equity.

Rodger Corser: I first benefitted from Equity before I had even become a member. My first professional role was gained without personal representation, so I turned to Equity for advice. I joined soon after and remember feeling a proud sense of belonging and community amongst peers, which I still feel today. Happy 75th Birthday Equity, and thank you for all your great work!

Toni Lamond: The union has meant so much to me for so long. I joined in the 50’s when Australian content in theatre was considered second class. We’ve come a long way since then, and it’s not over yet. I’m proud to an Equity member and my heartfelt thanks to the union that created opportunities for me that would have otherwise been denied.

John Bell: I joined Equity 40 years ago and have been an enthusiastic member of the union ever since, including my stint as Governor of the Actors Benevolent Fund. Today a strong and watchful union is more important than ever. Performers are a vulnerable species and a strong union is their best protection.

Tony Sheldon: I joined Equity in 1964 when I became a regular performer on Graham Kennedy's In Melbourne Tonight at the age of nine, and it was the proudest moment of my young life. Over the past fifty years I have come to understand how diligently my union strives to protect me and I'm happy to say that pride has not diminished.