Inaugural Houston Equity Festival to Take Center Stage
The Houston Equity Festival is a collection of local professional actors, all members of the union Actors' Equity Association, each of whom is mounting her/his own show during the summer and fall of 2019. Actor Dain Geist spearheaded the creation of the Festival "While we may be individual artists," says Geist, "Together we help to build a community."
Every artist presenting a project is working and producing under the Equity Members Project Code, which entails abiding by certain union rules but also completely funding and producing the project from start to finish. "It's quite an undertaking to put up your own money and take the very public risk of putting on a piece," offers festival member and actor Shannon Emerick. "But when a play speaks to you so deeply that you just know you've got to put it out into the world, you take a deep breath and go for it."
Building on Geist's belief that individual arts working on their own project can benefit from being part of a unified mission, the festival producers regularly hold digital and in-person meetings to support each other's projects and to further the mission of the festival - and they hope that more Houston Equity members will take the plunge, start producing, and make the Houston Equity Festival a yearly offering. "We want other actors to know they can do this," urges fellow producing artist Pamela Vogel. "It's possible to make it happen." The group is grateful to and recognizes the work of local actor Tracy Ahern who was the trailblazer for Equity Member Projects, producing Motherhood OUT LOUD to sold out houses in 2017.