Press Release: Pro99 Calls For New Referendum

Press Release:

i love 99 pro99LOS ANGELES (December 14, 2016) — Members of L.A.’s “Pro99” theater community continue to gather signatures to demand a new referendum on Actors’ Equity’s 99-Seat Theater Plan, which is scheduled to end today.

Despite an overwhelming “No” vote by over 66% of the Los Angeles membership on a referendum put before it last April, the union moved forward to eliminate the existing plan which has been in effect since 1989.

To date, over 1,100 signatures have been gathered from supporters in Los Angles and around the country.

To view a list of signatories, go to

The text of the petition is as follows:

Letter to AEA in Support of PRO99’s Call for a New Referendum:

We, the undersigned, are dedicated to the survival and growth of Intimate Theatre in Los Angeles. We are actors, stage managers, playwrights, designers, directors, producers and hyphenates of all of the above. We are also audience members, neighborhood restaurants and bars, and local businesses that benefit from the thriving L.A. Intimate Theatre landscape. We are committed to preserving, protecting and promoting theatres of 99-seats or less, not only in Los Angeles but throughout the United States, while defending Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) members’ rights, privileges and protections when they perform in such venues.

Currently, LA’s 99-seat theatres are under unparalleled threat. With arts funding in decline, and at 1/10 of what New York City garners, we are also now faced with an assault from AEA, which seeks to raze the LA intimate theater landscape.

We are PRO99. We are dedicated to ensuring that this does not happen.

A lawsuit by AEA members and producers, on behalf of the Intimate Theatre community, has been filed against Equity.* Pro99 supports this effort and is actively engaging the community in the court of public opinion, and by reaching out to people in all walks of life affected by theatres of 99-seat or less.

Additionally, we support AEA members and Intimate Theatres nationwide that would also benefit from a 99-seat plan that would allow them to incubate and develop new works to eventually go to contract, under vital union protections. We believe these protections and opportunities should be more readily available nationwide, and should certainly be protected, not rolled back, here in Los Angeles.

AEA has put forth a concerted effort to silence us. Our voices are not included in any official union communications, and what communications are issued by AEA are not only one-sided, but filled with misinformation, half-truths, untruths and outright distortions. We will continue to correct the record and put forth our own positive story.

We will also continue to enlist the community in the fight. Plaintiff and Review Committee member Gary Grossman has issued a challenge to AEA President Kate Shindle to make public AEA’s plan for 99-seat theatre [due to go into effect December 14, 2016], and we will make a new proposal public . We support Grossman’s proposal to have a side by side referendum that will allow LA’s union actors to choose between AEA’s plan and our own.

Our community is united. We will prevail.

*The lawsuit has been dismissed by a federal judge, but Plaintiff’s are currently exploring an appeal.

About Tracey Paleo

Tracey Paleo is Associate Editor at FootLights Magazine. She's also the Founder and Chief Editor of the arts and culture site, Gia On The Move, where she often reviews live performance events.

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One comment

  1. Unbelievable! Not only does this petition seek to extend policies which have retarded the growth of viable contract houses in Los Angeles, denying paid employment for Equity members, but now you are promoting the promulgation of these policies throughout the United States. So, in essence, you don’t think actors should be paid anywhere, as long as the venue seats fewer than 99 patrons. Since many of the more successful venues in Los Angeles provide employment opportunities for directors, writer, and designers, as well as income for TPLLA producers one has to ask, why are actors expected to be the only artists who work only for the “protections” that apparently only Equity can guarantee them? Like it or not, these are still businesses attempting to sell a product; businesses which would not exist but for the skills of the actors; a product which would not exist without actors. There is no thriving theatre community here without actors.

    Why are actors supposed to subsidize everybody else connected with this community? We’re not trainees. We’re not interns. We’re not volunteers. We are the product! Stop pretending it’s otherwise.

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