This open letter to the L.A. Theater Community first appeared on Facebook and is reprinted here with permission:
Actors Equity has chosen to put us on the public “Do Not Work” list. We want you to know the facts.
For the last year, we have been attempting to have the Academy Repertory Company (our member company that was established in 2003) designated as a Member Company. We have been denied that classification. Equity’s official reason for that denial was that our application didn’t include “Academy Repertory Company”.
According to Equity:
Your company was registered as New Musicals Inc./Academy for New Musical Theatre.
The demonstrably provable fact is that we registered all three of our branches in the same application, including our Member Company, the Academy Repertory Company. But Equity seems to be determined to deny our repertory company’s status as a Membership Company by somehow invalidating our paperwork.
We have asked for a meeting with Gail Gabler and Allison Harma about our membership company on ten separate occasions over the past thirteen months, but Equity has refused to take a meeting with us on this subject on all ten occasions, insisting instead that we take a meeting with them to discuss the new minimum wage contract. We have, on each occasion, respectfully informed Equity that contracts are inapplicable when we are clearly a Membership Company and our members are joyful volunteers, and have been for 14 years.
Instead of agreeing to meet with us about our Membership Company status, and explain to us why they are insisting that our paperwork was incorrect when we can prove that it wasn’t, Equity has chosen to put us on the national public “Do Not Work” list, causing very real damage to our name and reputation across the country.
Those of you with whom we have had the pleasure of reading and singing new musicals know how respectful we are of actors, stage managers and all theatre artists. Please continue to know that you are all always welcome at the Academy Repertory Company, New Musicals Inc, and the Academy for New Musical Theatre, whether you’re a member of Equity or not.
Scott Guy, Executive Director
John Sparks, Founding Director
Elise Dewsberry, Artistic Director
New Musicals Inc./The Academy for New Musical Theatre/The Academy Repertory Company