Off-Broadway actors are getting what they are due. After a tremendous push and pull, performing professionals, are getting what Kate Shindle (President of eastern regional board of Actors’ Equity) calls, “[a] hefty wage increase.” In a statement, Shindle said, “This is historic in so many ways. The wage increases will allow actors and stage managers to continue to do the work that we love Off Broadway, while being able to support ourselves financially.”
Off Broadway theaters have agreed to pay high salaries to almost hundreds of actors and stage managers, according to The New York Times. The new contract will last five years. Stage acting has gained a reputation of poor pay however off broadway performers said, “their wages have become increasingly unacceptable.” Some actors are paid no more than $593 a week, for roles that usually last a few weeks, while paying 10 percent to an agent and 2.25 percent to their union. After paying taxes as well, there is usually not enough to cover the cost of living in New York. The increase will range from 32 to 81 percent which includes all types of budgets and all types of theaters.
The push for fair wages started with a strong yet highly visible social media campaign using the hashtag, #FairWageOnstage. The campaign sought out support from celebrities and putting pressure on New York city’s nonprofit theaters and producers to pay higher salaries. November 18 2016, The Actors’ Equity Association reached an agreement after continuous battle and a talk about a strike. The full agreement was approved by the eastern regional board of Actors’ Equity. Actors were motivated to not only increase New York’s cost of living but also raising awareness to the increasing population of New York’s public theater with an annual budget of $41 million. The new agreement creates opportunity for both actors and stage managers.