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Community vs. Professional vs. Regional?

BruceWayne5148
Stand-by
joined:7/10/06
Where does the difference come between community, professional, and regional theatre? Especially when it comes to hiring equity actors, getting equity points, and getting paid. Does professional theatre simply mean they pay actors and it is not all volunteer?

I'm not sure I'm asking this question clearly, but I just have a hard time discerning the difference in the three and how theatres classify themselves. Are there any set guidelines?
bwaylvsong Profile Photo
bwaylvsong
Broadway Legend
joined:7/28/05
These definitions are very general, and there are exceptions to all of them:
Community means the actors are volunteers and do not get paid. Since there is no pay, there is no affiliation with equity.
Professional means the actors are hired and get paid. Professional may or may not be equity. If affiliated with equity, a theater may give EMC points.
Regional just means a professional theater that's not in NYC.
People who know more, feel free to elaborate...
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dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
An equity actor needs to get permission to perform in a non equity show.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Also, there are hybrid theaters, employing non-professional actors (some for pay and some as volunteers) as well as a quota of Equity members.
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AEA AGMA SM
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/09
^
That's what the Guest Artist and Special Appearance contracts were created for. By becoming a member of Equity you are agreeing to follow all of the bylaws in their constitution, one of which is not appearing on stage in a theatrical production without being signed to the appropriate union contract, and agreeing to follow the bylaws of all of the sister unions (AGMA, AGVA, SAG, AFTRA).

Benefits (talking one maybe two night, special appearances/cabarets, etc) are handled through an offshoot of Equity called the Theatre Authority. While the actor there will not be signed to an actual Equity contract, there are certain stipulations that must be followed in regards to rehearsal hours, presentation conditions, stipends, etc.

bwaylvsong is correct in his reduction of the terms community, regional, and professional down to their most basic definitions. From there you can start getting into much more philosophical(?) debates. For instance, should a community theatre that starts offering a stipend that may just cover transportation costs be considered professional? Are "professional" companies (such as the Gallery Players in Brooklyn) which operate solely under the Showcase Code, which again offers a stipend that covers transportation costs but is hardly enough to live on really be considered "professional"?
Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
chinto1984
Leading Actor
joined:8/6/07
Some community theaters are considered semi-professional because of what they charge for tickets, house size, and performance run. If you are non-profit which some professional theaters are that changes where your money goes as well.

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AEA AGMA SM
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/09
"Some community theaters are considered semi-professional because of what they charge for tickets, house size, and performance run. If you are non-profit which some professional theaters are that changes where your money goes as well."

I've seen this situation. My feelings remain that unless the actors are getting paid (and again, something more than just gas money, especially for a commitment of what can sometimes end up being 8-10 weeks from the start of rehearsals to closing) the theatre is not professional, no matter how much they are charging.

A large majority of theatres outside of NYC are operated as non-profits (including all LORT theatres). That has very little to do with professional vs. non-professional status.
Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
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tourboi
Broadway Legend
joined:12/15/05
AEA AGMA SM is right... paying a "travel stipend" does not a professional theatre make. The basic definition in licensing deals I've negotiated has been if you pay your actors a salary (or a stipend big enough to be considered equal to a "living wage") you are considered professional (and thus get a professional performance license for a show).

But professional is not limited to Equity. You can be a non-Eq actor and still be a professional.