100 years of the Actors’ Equity Association

Union membership numbers have declined for a lot of occupations over the past century. But, despite major technological change in their industries, performing arts unions have maintained their presence as strong advocates for the workplace interests of performers, writers, and technicians. The Museum of the City of New York has written a wonderful post, with fascinating pictures, to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Actors’ Equity Association.

MCNY Blog: New York Stories

Look at the cast list in any theater program across the country and you will see a small * beside a performer’s name leading to a footnote indicating the performer belongs to the Actors’ Equity Association.  Peruse the program bios for these same starred performers and you will often encounter the phrase “proud member of Actors’ Equity.”  The union representing live theatrical performance turns 100 years old on Sunday. Rather than attempting 100 years of coverage in a single blog entry, this week’s posting will focus on just a few points of pride.

Actors’ Equity was founded on May 26, 1913 when 112 theatrical actors met at the Pabst Grand Circle Hotel in New York City.

Six months before this meeting the Actors’ Society of America, a previous attempt at organizing a labor union for theatrical actors, dissolved, due in large part to the fact that the Actors’…

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