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Kate Shindle Talks Equity's COVID-19 Guidelines, the Theatres Approved to Re-Open, and More on Backstage LIVE With Richard Ridge

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Kate Shindle Talks Equity's COVID-19 Guidelines, the Theatres Approved to Re-Open, and More on Backstage LIVE With Richard Ridge

Nothing can stop BroadwayWorld's Richard Ridge from bringing you interviews with your favorite Broadway stars! On July 10 at 1pm ET, he chatted with Actors' Equity Association President Kate Shindle!

Shindle talked about the guidelines for COVID-19 testing, that Actors' Equity just released this week.

"A few weeks ago we laid out four guiding principles, and we knew that the first one was going to be the hardest one to get over, which is that the epidemic be under control in the area that the theatre is operating in."

She goes on to say that the other important thing is that theatres have accurate testing, but that is hard to control.

"We hired an expert, Dr. David Michaels, he's really been guiding us through what looks like a safe way for theatres to re-open," she said. "One of the things we recently released is that actors and stage managers be regularly tested if a theatre is going to re-open, and that it be at no cost to them."

She said it does seem like we are getting closer to theatres being able to open once again, after it felt impossible for so long.

Shindle also talked about the two theatres that were recently approved by Equity to resume performances, Barrington Stage Company and Berkshire Theatre Group.

"Barrington is a bit of a unicorn because it is a one-person show, there isn't going to be anyone backstage during the show," she said. "I understand that they made really significant modifications to their space."

"Godspell at Berkshire Theatre Group was very interesting," she goes on to say, noting that the theatre reached out to her to say that they had not given up on holding a summer season. She said that she was not involved in all of the staff work, but she was checking in on it often to see if an outdoor production was possible, as well as the safety precautions being taken.

Shindle says she recognizes that this is an important test, and hopes that all can go as planned so the process can be replicated across American theatre.

Check out the full interview here!

Kate Shindle was elected President of Actors' Equity Association in May of 2015. She is the youngest member ever to hold the highest ranking position on Equity's governing National Council, and the third woman in Equity's history elected to the office. A member of the union since 1999, Shindle previously served a three-year term as Eastern Regional Vice President (2009-2012).

Shindle was first elected to Equity's national council in 2008 and has served on numerous internal committees to support outreach, contract work, wages and improvements for members nationwide, including the Actors' Equity Foundation, House Affairs, National Public Policy and New Media & Technology committees. She has been a member of three negotiating teams for the Production Contract (2008, 2011, 2015), Equity's top-tier agreement covering Broadway, national touring and the Kennedy Center. She recently became a board member for both The Actors Fund and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Shindle made her Broadway debut in Jekyll & Hyde. Other notable Broadway roles include Sally Bowles in Cabaret (after headlining the national tour), Vivienne in Legally Blonde and The Mad Hatter in Frank Wildhorn's Wonderland. As a producer, Shindle was an associate on the Broadway premiere of the Tony-nominated A Christmas Story: The Musical. She has performed at regional theatres including La Jolla Playhouse (San Diego), The Old Globe (San Diego), Alley Theatre (Houston), Huntington Theatre (Boston), Portland Center Stage (Oregon), Bay Street Theatre (Sag Harbor) and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, and special engagements at Carnegie Hall, Birdland Jazz Club and 54 Below, among others. Film credits include Lucky Stiff, Capote and The Stepford Wives. On television, she has appeared in Law & Order: SVU, Gossip Girl and White Collar.

During her studies at Northwestern University, Shindle earned the title of Miss America 1998, effectively using her position to advocate for HIV prevention and education. She was a panelist and moderator at the World AIDS Conference, has spoken twice at the National Press Club, and was praised for "shattering every ugly stereotype about Miss America." She remains a dedicated AIDS activist and has been a vocal supporter of marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws for the LGBTQ community.

Her analysis of both the personal and academic histories of the institution, Being Miss America: Behind the Rhinestone Curtain was published by the University of Texas Press in 2014. Other writings on the cultural history of pageants have appeared in Newsweek, The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, The Advocate and Salon.

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