The Actors’ Equity Association updated its showcase code for the first time since 2009, formally eliminating price caps on tickets, among other changes.
The revised showcase code, which took effect Jan. 22, no longer lists an $18 cap on ticket prices. From Equity’s standpoint, the updated code formalizes policies that many producers had been following and they note that this is a code, not a negotiated contract.
The code applies to productions in 99-seat and under theaters in New York City, generally referred to as “Off-Off-Broadway,” in which Equity members are allowed to perform without an Equity-approved contract.
Tom Carpenter, eastern regional director and general counsel for Actors’ Equity, said showcases had been charging more than $18 for a few years and that this puts that policy in writing.
“It’s just updating the document,” Carpenter said.
Additionally, the revised code forbids nudity in Equity interviews or auditions and requires clear language about possible nudity during the production in the casting notice.
As before, productions under the code must have a budget of $35,000 or under, not including Equity stipends. In practice, Equity has been excluding venue rental from that budget as well.
The code still retains the restriction of a maximum of 16 performances.
In an earlier statement to Broadway News, Carpenter said that Equity made changes to the code to dispel any misunderstandings.
“The Eastern Regional Board recently approved changes to the Showcase Code intended to more clearly communicate to all parties that showcase is an internal union membership rule, and not a negotiated contract or agreement,” he said in the statement.
Carpenter later reiterated that because this is a code, rather than a contract, Equity is not in a position to regulate producers of the shows and can only govern its own members if the code is broken.
“Our only remedy really with respect to any of those things is to direct our members to discontinue their participation in the project,” he said.
He advised members to contact Equity with any questions.