How to Get Seen at Equity Auditions as an EMC or Non-Equity Actor

Certain productions and theaters are required to have Equity Principal Auditions (EPAs) and Equity Chorus Calls (ECCs). Members of Actor's Equity— the union for stage actors — can sign up for these auditions starting one week before they occur.

Non-Equity actors are, in fact, more than welcome to attend Equity auditions. Time permitting, there is always a chance they may be seen. 

Here, we'll break down EPAs and ECCs, how to sign up for them as an EMC (Equity Membership Candidate) or Non-Union actor, when to show up, and any obstacles you may encounter along the way.

Actors Equity

Equity Principal Auditions

At an Equity Principal Audition, or EPA, the monitor will arrive one hour prior to the start of the audition. These are the auditions that usually ask for 32 bars of a song or a monologue under 2 minutes. 

There are 5 lists that the Equity monitor will have on their desk: 

  1. Equity Member time slots

  2. Equity Member Alternate list A

  3. Equity Member Alternate list B

  4. EMC Member list

  5. Non-Union Member list

All Equity members on the lists will be seen before any EMC and non-union actors are seen. All EMC members are seen before any non-union members are seen.

*I find that it is much easier to be seen at an EPA as an EMC vs. Non-Equity because of your status. The influx of new union members paired with the addition of online sign-ups has made it increasingly difficult to be seen at EPAs as a non-equity actor. Plan accordingly!

If you are EMC - I suggest arriving to the audition around 6-7AM (if the call starts at approximately 10AM) to grab a spot on line. You must wait in line the morning of the audition until you can sign your name on an official list with the monitor. There are NO unofficial lists for Equity Membership Candidates.

EMCs will be seen only if an equity member doesn’t show up for their appointment, if the team is running ahead of schedule, and there are no equity alternates left on the alternate list.  EMCs must sign up before lunch break for monitors to recognize their status over non-equity. EMCs who sign up after the lunch break must sign up at the end of the non-equity list.

Bring your EMC card. You'll need it to sign up with the monitor on the official list.

*THE EQUITY BUILDING IN NYC HAS CHANGED THEIR RULES in regards to how EMC members can sign up in the morning. Read up the latest update here!

If you are Non-Equity - I suggest arriving to the audition around 5-6AM (if the audition starts at approximately 10) to sign up on an unofficial list. If the list is honored, your name will be transferred to the official list with the monitor an hour before the call. 

You will be seen only if an equity member doesn’t show up for their appointment, if the team is running ahead of schedule, there are no equity alternates left on the alternate list and no EMCs left.

If you choose not to stick around and wait for your name to be called, check Audition Update to see how quickly the audition is running. You must be present when the monitor calls your name. If you do not answer up when your name is called, you must re-sign up at the end of the list.

Equity Chorus Calls

EMC and Non-Union actors are of the same status at a chorus call. These auditions are broken up into Singer and Dancer Calls for both men and women. ECCs usually require you to learn a combination from the choreographer and perform it for the creative team, and/or sing 16 bars of a song.

Many non-union members will arrive several hours before an audition to start an unofficial line/list. Even if the call starts in the afternoon, expect an unofficial list to be started as early as 6 or 7AM (this is especially true for women's calls).

An official non-union list will be provided by the Equity monitor for you to sign up on 30 minutes before the call. The Equity monitor is usually open to allowing a non-union member to transfer the unofficial list onto the official one. If they do not allow this, then whatever non-union members are in the holding room have to scramble to make a line and sign up on the official list. 

Once you are signed up on the official list it is recommended that you leave the holding room and check back in 5 minutes before the call start time. This is when the monitor will usually know whether or not non-union members will be seen at the call.

*If the call is closed at the start time to union members, then no non-union members are allowed to be seen.

*If the creative team wishes to see non-equity, be aware that they may cut your audition down to 8 bars. This happened to me once as an equity member!

*Some creative teams will be willing to accept headshot/resumes even if they don’t have time to see you. Always ask the monitor if they are accepting DROP OFFS. If so, the monitor will collect headshots and resumes at the desk. I have heard of actors getting audition appointments from drop offs!

Problems with Unofficial Lists

Sometimes, non-equity actors can run into issues with unofficial lists. Somewhere along the way, the list may be lost or accidentally thrown out. If there are two lists made for the same production the morning of, the monitor will most likely toss both of them. If/when the unofficial list makes it safely to the monitor, names may be transferred incorrectly to the official list. Be aware and keep your eyes peeled!

For more information on unofficial lists, click here.

Be prepared, have your headshot and resume stapled, and be warmed up and ready to go at any time. Keep showing up and doing what you love. Your talent will be seen and appreciated!

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