Los Angeles Labor

A series of posts about Los Angeles theatre, the values applied to our art and business choices, and how we collectively address the challenges and the need for change.

Theater is Not Fast Food
Essay

Theater is Not Fast Food

3 October 2014

If we truly want Los Angeles theater to grow and provide more jobs that pay, let’s examine what that will take. Help from the unions is certainly part of it, but the idea that tightening restrictions is a panacea for what ails us demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of what the problems really are. We need community awareness. We need much more support from local funders. We need to produce the kind of theater that makes us a vital and necessary part of the community and we need to get the community out to see that what we do is vital.

The Ambition to Pay Actors
Essay

The Ambition to Pay Actors

Can LA Afford to Make a 99-seat Compromise?

2 October 2014

In 1999, I arrived in LA in a Ryder truck with the contents of several friends’ apartments and the unit set for a play we had just successfully produced together in Chicago. We remounted our play—largely unnoticed by audiences or press—in a fifty-seat space on theater row that never saw a sold out crowd. We were all in our early twenties. I don’t recall our non-Equity cast of six (which included me) ever discussing the possibility of getting paid.

the actors equity association logo
Artist Unions, Labor, and Family Traditions
Essay

Artist Unions, Labor, and Family Traditions

1 October 2014

Truthfully, as a Los Angeles-based theater artist working almost entirely under the 99-seat agreement, at a certain point I just gave up on earning my Equity card, and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) wasn’t popping up on my radar. While I may not currently carry a union card in my wallet, I do take great pride in how I am following in my grandfather’s footsteps. We both pursued our passion to craft and share stories, and simultaneously held careers working in the arts to pay the bills.

Thoughts of a Los Angeles Designer
Essay

Thoughts of a Los Angeles Designer

26 September 2014

I could certainly choose not to work at a lot of small theaters. I could also try and negotiate higher rates. I have done both. But I like to work with good theater artists. It’s hard to say no to a good director or to a good script. As a Los Angeles theater artist, it is almost impossible to not work in 99-seat theater.

Why Are Theater Artists So Afraid to Speak?
Essay

Why Are Theater Artists So Afraid to Speak?

24 September 2014

The kind of open, honest, rough-and-tumble way that we often approach our art-making seems to be inhibited, or even actively stifled, when it comes to addressing larger issues in the way we work and the ways we are part of the fabric of the country. Much of the time, it seems like we’re all living in a spirit of fear, instantly defensive whenever anyone questions the current status quo. And this despite the fact that, at least in principle, everyone seems to agree the status quo is far from ideal.

Bookmark this page

Log in to add a bookmark

Series are collections of content curated around a specific theme. HowlRound works with curators to develop topical pieces meant to spotlight current events and happenings within the commons.