EMC Program: How Non-Union Actors Can Earn Points Towards Joining Equity

Actors' Equity Association (AEA) is the performing arts union representing more than 51,000 professional stage actors and stage managers in the United States. Equity provides a wide range of benefits by negotiating wages, working conditions, and providing health and pension plans for its members. 

There are 3 ways to join Actors’ Equity Association. Actors may join AEA by virtue of employment under an Equity contract, by virtue of prior membership in a performing arts sister union (SAG-AFTRAAGMAAGVA or GIAA) or through the Equity Membership Program.

What’s the Equity Membership Program?

The Equity Membership Candidate Program (EMC) allows non-union actors to work towards joining AEA by earning points at participating theaters. Each week worked at a participating theatre is equal to 1 point.

Candid photo of  Peter Pan  at Connecticut Repertory Theatre where I earned EMC points playing Wendy Darling (pictured right)

Candid photo of Peter Pan at Connecticut Repertory Theatre where I earned EMC points playing Wendy Darling (pictured right)

How do I register to become an EMC?

To register for the program, you first must book a job at an Equity theatre that offers the Equity Membership Candidate program.

Next, complete the EMC Registration Form supplied by the theatre and return it to them with the non-refundable $200 registration fee, payable to Actors’ Equity Association.

How do I know which theaters give EMC points?

The following Equity Theatres have participated in the Equity Membership Candidate (EMC) Program in the past 6 months. Before accepting a job, prospective EMC Candidates should ask the theatre to confirm the program is in effect.

How many points do I need to be eligible to join Equity?

Actors must complete at least 25 weeks of work at any of the participating theatres. The weeks do not have to be consecutive and may be accumulated over any length of time.

After completing 25 weeks, members may also opt to enter "Phase II" and remain an EMC for up to 25 more weeks.

You must complete the EMC Registration Form each time you accumulate weeks with a participating theatre. Once you have accrued enough weeks to complete the program, you will be notified by Equity.

What happens once I accumulate enough points?

Your eligibility to join Equity lasts for 5 years. During that time, if you book a job at an Equity theatre, you must be signed to an Equity contract.

If you do NOT choose to join within the 5-year period, your accumulated weeks of credit will expire, your registration fee will be forfeited, and you will not receive the credit toward a future initiation fee.

When you wish to join Equity, you must complete a membership application and pay the required minimum of the initiation fee. Your EMC registration fee will be credited against your initiation fee (except as noted above). Once you join Equity, you will also be subject to basic dues and working dues.

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