LOS ANGELES (April 28, 2017) — Intimate theater companies in Los Angeles that have been denied membership status by Actors Equity Association, and/or find themselves financially unable to sign AEA's new Los Angeles 99-Seat Theater Agreement, are banding together under the title “Independent Theatres of Los Angeles.” Sixteen theaters have joined ITLA to date, with more companies expected to become members soon. Under the auspices of ITLA,citywide auditions will be held on May 7, May 10, May 13 and May 17 at four different locations.
Ten members of ITLA — Crown City Theatre Company, Matrix Theatre Company, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, Padua Playwrights, Playwrights Arena, Robey Theatre Company,Skylight Theatre Company, Towne Street Theatre, Victory Theatre Center and Whitefire Theatre — will be represented at each audition call. Additional members of ITLA include Bright Eyes Productions, Collaborative Artists Ensemble, Orpheum Theatre Corp., Santa Monica Playhouse, Teatro de la O and Zubber Dust Playhouse.
“These auditions are a way for us to become familiar with the vast and as yet untapped pool of talent in Los Angeles, and they with us,” explains Odyssey Theatre Ensemble artistic director Ron Sossi. “The auditions are open to both union and non-union actors. However, actors who are members of Actors' Equity and have not declared financial core status should be aware that they could face sanctions for volunteering their services in our productions.”
“The purpose of ITLA is to say to Los Angeles and all other cities listening that our theaters will continue to provide an opportunity for all artists to volunteer their craft,” states Skylight Theatre Company artistic director Gary Grossman.
“Because Equity has arbitrarily chosen to wave its rules for only a select group of theaters does not mean that other 99-seat theater companies won't continue to flourish,” points out Victory Theatre Center artistic producer Tom Ormeny. “That's why we are holding these auditions.”
According to Matrix Theatre Company artistic director Joe Stern, “ITLA theaters will continue to operate with the same high standards we have always championed, protecting the safety and integrity of all the artists in our theatrical families while also providing high quality theater at affordable prices for our growing audiences.”
ITLA auditions will take place on Sunday, May 7 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m at the Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046; on Wednesday May 10 from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. at the Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90025; on Saturday, May 13from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Victory Theatre Center, 3326 W Victory Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505; and Wednesday, May 17 from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. at the Skylight Theatre, 1816 1/2 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Open to all ethnicities. Actors wishing to audition should prepare either one 2-3 minute monologue or two 1-2 minute monologues (maximum 5 minute slots for each audition) and bring 10 copies of their picture and resume, one for each participating theater company. Actors need only attend one of the sessions to be seen by all ten theaters. No phone calls please.
Some people have asked if there will be a group of LA theatre people for the Women's March on Saturday downtown. So a few of us organized one!
We will be meeting at LATC at 9am and will walk over together to Pershing Square from there. There are speakers on from 9-10am but the march itself starts at 10am in Pershing Square and will march to City Hall where there will be more speakers (for the schedule please see the Women's March LA website).
Who's going to the march? Hope to see you there!
Members of L.A.'s “PRO-99” theater community continue to gather signatures to demand a new referendum on Actors' Equity's 99-Seat Theater Plan, which is scheduled to end today.
Despite an overwhelming “No” vote by over 66% of the Los Angeles membership on a referendum put before it last April, the union moved forward to eliminate the existing plan which has been in effect since 1989.
To date, over 1,100 signatures have been gathered from supporters in Los Angles and around the country.
To view a list of signatories, go to http://ilove99.org/2016/07/24/
The text of the petition is as follows:
Letter to AEA in Support of PRO99's Call for a New Referendum:
We, the undersigned, are dedicated to the survival and growth of Intimate Theatre in Los Angeles. We are actors, stage managers, playwrights, designers, directors, producers and hyphenates of all of the above. We are also audience members, neighborhood restaurants and bars, and local businesses that benefit from the thriving L.A. Intimate Theatre landscape. We are committed to preserving, protecting and promoting theatres of 99-seats or less, not only in Los Angeles but throughout the United States, while defending Actors' Equity Association (AEA) members' rights, privileges and protections when they perform in such venues.
Currently, LA's 99-seat theatres are under unparalleled threat. With arts funding in decline, and at 1/10 of what New York City garners, we are also now faced with an assault from AEA, which seeks to raze the LA intimate theater landscape.
We are PRO99. We are dedicated to ensuring that this does not happen.
A lawsuit by AEA members and producers, on behalf of the Intimate Theatre community, has been filed against Equity.* Pro99 supports this effort and is actively engaging the community in the court of public opinion, and by reaching out to people in all walks of life affected by theatres of 99-seat or less.
Additionally, we support AEA members and Intimate Theatres nationwide that would also benefit from a 99-seat plan that would allow them to incubate and develop new works to eventually go to contract, under vital union protections. We believe these protections and opportunities should be more readily available nationwide, and should certainly be protected, not rolled back, here in Los Angeles.
AEA has put forth a concerted effort to silence us. Our voices are not included in any official union communications, and what communications are issued by AEA are not only one-sided, but filled with misinformation, half-truths, untruths and outright distortions. We will continue to correct the record and put forth our own positive story.
We will also continue to enlist the community in the fight. Plaintiff and Review Committee member Gary Grossman has issued a challenge to AEA President Kate Shindle to make public AEA's plan for 99-seat theatre [due to go into effect December 14, 2016], and we will make a new proposal public . We support Grossman's proposal to have a side by side referendum that will allow LA's union actors to choose between AEA's plan and our own.
Our community is united. We will prevail.
*The lawsuit has been dismissed by a federal judge, but Plaintiff's are currently exploring an appeal.