That would be me

That would be me

Monday, August 23, 2010

Paying to Play

Yesterday, in preparation for the newsletter, I interviewed two groups of people. I interviewed Therese Diekhans (who will be my first Actor Profile) and also a group of community theatre performers (because I wanted their opinions on the types of questions I should ask for the Director Q&A).

What came out of those conversations that I found most interesting is the price we have to pay for being actors. Sometimes literally.

The community theatre actors had remarked that (among other things) they would like to know prior to auditions whether or not they would have to pay a fee to perform. I was incredulous. A fee to perform???? It turns out that some local community theatres (especially the ones further out from the "cities") charge fees to their performers to offset the cost of the productions. These range from call-it-as-they-see-it Performance Privileges Fee to ludicrous in their audacity Costume Fees.

I was at first flabbergasted but then became incensed. Theatre is hard work and I get pretty sick of people acting as if it is all fun and games. It is bad enough when "regular" people do it but when fellow theatre artists start treating it that way – well, it gets my goat. And then to try to profit off of newbies' desires to be in a show . . . well, the hair on the back of my neck stands up and colorful words start flying.

So this was all fresh in my mind when I met up with Therese.

Therese and I had done a staged reading a few years ago and I have been "following" her career ever since.

Therese became an Equity (union) actress just a few years ago (thanks to a children's show national tour) and has found that she is having a much harder time finding work ever since making the leap to Equity. So much so that she advises local actors to think hard before joining Equity in a market like ours.

So, basically, if you are a community theatre actor – sometimes you are expected to pay to play and if you are a professional actor – sometimes it just DOESN'T pay to play.

If you want to know more about Therese (plus a Director Q&A, audition tips and a Meet The Newbie feature) – please sign up for my free newsletter (see box to the right). First issue goes out this Saturday!!! :)

1 comment:

  1. Do you guys have the system in Seattle where you have to pay to be seen by casting directors or agents? That's become very big in New York.