Description Of Equity Agreements And Codes


When viewing casting notices in a tabloid like Backstage, you may often see a reference to a particular contract or arrangement with AEA. The following is an overview of Actors Equity Agreement and code terms. For fuller details and to view actual contracts, visit the actors equity website at

Bay Area Theatre Agreement (BAT). The BAT Agreement is used within the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area in seasonal not-for-profit theatres with fewer than 400 seats and that have not previously produced under a standard Equity Agreement. There are five salary tiers based on a box office gross formula, providing for flexibility in seating capacity and number of performances per week.

Buffalo/Rochester Agreement. This agreement is a modified version of the Special Appearance agreement available only for theatres in the greater Buffalo-Rochester area. There is no health insurance.

Cabaret Agreement. This agreement is applicable for productions presented in cabaret-style theatres where the majority of the audience is seated at tables. In most cases food and/or drinks are served. Performances are limited to 8 per week with no more than two in any one day. Performances may be no more than 90 minutes in length. Touring is not permitted.

Chicago Area Theatre Agreement. This agreement is used in theatres with a capacity of 900 seats or fewer within 35 miles from the Chicago city limits and covers both commercial and not-for-profit theatres. It is a tiered contract with flexibility in seating capacity and number of performances per week. Local touring is permitted on all tiers. Housing and expenses are applicable for overnight tours.

Chicago Showcase Code. This code is for use within the city of Chicago for productions before audiences of no more than 99 persons. Unlike other showcase codes, the "producer of record" and all the performers must be members of Equity.

CORST (Council of Resident Stock Theatres). Agreement covers Resident Dramatic Stock and is used by commercial and not for-profit producers. The four categories are based on potential weekly box office gross. A resident company of five principal actors and one stage manager must be maintained in all but two productions. No more than 50% of the performance weeks may be for musical productions. Touring is not permitted. Expires: February 24, 2003.

COST (Council of Stock Theatres). Agreement covers Non-Resident Dramatic or Musical Stock and contains five tiers with different salary minimums. It may be used by commercial or not-for-profit theatres, and must have a season of not fewer than two consecutive productions, or, in the case of a unit tour, perform at two or more Stock Theatres for not fewer than two consecutive weeks. There may be up to four weeks of rehearsal and up to eight weeks of performances per production in one location. Touring is permitted either on consecutive stock jobbing or unit contracts. Expires: December 30, 2001

Dinner Theatre Agreement. This agreement cover theatres presenting consecutive productions where dinners are served either in the same room in which the performance is given or in an adjacent room. Dinner Theatre agreements are negotiated separately for each dinner theatre in each regional area and have differing salary scales. Each production must play no fewer than three weeks and the theatre must operate on a year-round basis. The advertised admission price must include both the meal and the performance; however, 25% of the performances in any given week may be on a performance-only basis. Dinner Theatre agreements are not permitted in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles or San Francisco, except by permission of Equity. Touring is not permitted.

Disney World Agreement. This agreement covers theatrical performers at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The Disney Company health insurance plan is provided. The Disney Agreement is administered from the Orlando office.

The Guest Artist Agreement. The Guest Artist Agreement is used by not-for-profit educational or community theatres that occasionally employ professional actors. No more than two actors may be employed in any one production under the agreement unless special permission is granted. A stage manager contract is required when there are more than two actor contracts. This agreement contains three salary tiers based upon the number of regularly scheduled performances.

Hollywood Area Theatre Agreement. The Hollywood Area Theatre (HAT) Agreement is used in theatres with fewer than 500 seats presenting productions in the county of Los Angeles. There are four categories based on seating capacity and seven salary levels based on gross box office receipts.

Live Corporate Communications Contract. The Live Corporate Communications Contract, formerly the Business Theatre contract, covers any live production for which the primary purpose is to promote directly or indirectly a product or service, including public or educational services, or to inform groups of employees or clients. There are separate salary rates for multi-week, single-week daily, and half-daily engagements. Bonding is not required, and you are advised that paychecks may be issued as long as 12 business days following the week worked. Touring is permitted.

Letter of Agreement (LOA). Together with Small Professional Theatre, LOA's are used in developmental situations. LOA's provide theatres the time and flexibility needed to develop into a standard Equity agreement. Every LOA is individually negotiated and, as a result, the terms vary from theatre to theatre and from season to season. Each LOA is referenced to a standard rule book for those provisions that are not specifically set forth in the LOA.

The League of Resident Theatres (LORT). The League of Resident Theatres (LORT) Agreement is used by not-for-profit professional regional theatres throughout the United States. Some Theatres employ resident companies each season, though most employ performers on a show-by-show basis. Five categories, based on actual weekly box office gross (averaged over a three year period), determine salary and personnel requirements. Local and overnight touring is permitted, but per diem is required when an actor performs overnight tours away from the Theatre. This agreement covers both dramatic and musical productions.

Los Angeles 99-Seat Theatre Plan. This plan is for use in the county of Los Angeles in theatres of 99 seats or fewer.

Midsize Theatre Agreement. The Midsize Theatre Agreement is designed for theatres seating up to 699 outside the office cities. It is to be used for a single production, not for seasonal operations. Payments are determined by the theatre's potential weekly box office. The Agreement does not permit the use of non-professionals; nor may it be used for touring. Housing is provided by the Producer at no cost to the Actor and a per diem is provided.

The Mini Agreement. The Mini Agreement is used in New York City in theatres of 99 seats or fewer and is referenced to the Off Broadway Agreement for its work rules. It has reduced salaries and is only issued at the discretion of Equity.

MSUA (Musical Stock/Unit Attraction). Agreement was originally designed for use in very large outdoor amphitheatres but now also includes some indoor operations. Sometimes these theatres produce their own shows which they may present at their own theatres and/or tour on a Unit Attraction Agreement or consecutive stock jobbing contracts; sometimes they serve as stops on Stock or Bus & Truck tours. Because outdoor amphitheatres can present only evening performances, such outdoor theatres are permitted to perform seven nights per week. Expires: October 29, 2000.

New England Area Theatre Agreement. This agreement is essentially a modified version of the Small Professional Theatre Agreement negotiated for use by a group of theatres in the Boston area.

New Orleans Area Theatre (NOLA). This agreement is a modified and expanded Special Appearance agreement, specifically designed for use in the immediate New Orleans area. It is based on the premise that actors and stage managers may be used on a periodic performance basis. NOLA contains three salary tiers, based on the number of performances and hours of rehearsal for which the member is employed. Musicals may not be produced under NOLA. There is no health insurance.

New York City Showcase Code. This local code is available for use in New York City in theatres of 99 seats or fewer. There are two such codes: the Seasonal Code for Funded Non-Profit Theatres and the Basic Showcase Code used for single, commercial productions.

Off Broadway Agreement. This agreement covers those theatres that have fewer than 500 seats in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, but that are not located in the "Broadway District". There are five categories determined by seating capacity.

Orlando Area Theatre. This agreement is a modified version of the Special Appearance agreement available only for the city of Orlando.

Outdoor Drama Agreement. Used by community-based historical dramas. The agreement requires no fewer than four contracts including the stage manager; the majority of these very large casts is apprentices and community residents. Conditions are generally rustic and the roles are physically demanding, including stunts, horseback riding and use of firearms. Expires: September 26, 2002

Pittsburgh Special Appearance Agreement. The Pittsburgh Special Appearance Contract is a modified version of the Special Appearance Contract available only for theatres in the Pittsburgh area. There is no mandatory health insurance under this Agreement.

The Production Agreement. The Production Agreement covers Broadway, National and International Tours. It is also used for touring productions at large performing arts centers such as the Kennedy Center. This agreement can be used by both commercial and not-for-profit producers, for either limited or open-ended runs. It covers both musical and dramatic productions and is the only agreement with provisions allowing non-resident alien performers to work in the United States. In June of 2001, a 401(k) Plan was added to the Agreement. MassMutual provides financial services to help Actors save for retirement. Payment of per diem is required whenever the Actor is required to rehearse and/or perform away from the production's "Point of Organization" city (New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles or San Francisco). For many decades, this Agreement was bargained with the League of American Theatres & Producers. Buena Vista Theatrical Ventures (Walt Disney Company), and the former SFX Company have each negotiated individual Agreements.

RMTA (Resident Musical Theatre Association). Agreement is used by both commercial and not-for-profit stock theatres for musical seasons. A resident company of no fewer than four principal actors and one stage manager and one assistant stage manager must be maintained for all but two productions. Expires: December 25, 2000.

Small Professional Theatre Agreement. This agreement may be used in theatres of fewer than 350 seats in areas outside of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. This national agreement, together with many individual Letters of Agreement, form the basis of Equity's Developing Theatre programs. The 10 salary categories are determined by the number of performances and the maximum weekly hours of work. The agreement may be used in both commercial and not-for-profit situations and for both seasonal operations and single productions. Touring is not permitted.

The Special Appearance Agreement. Like the Guest Artist, the Special Appearance Agreement was established to encourage increased employment opportunities. This is essentially a modified Guest Artist Arrangement for use by small community theatres, outside of New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, that wish to hire individual professional artists and/or stage managers. There are two salary tiers based on seating capacity, box office gross and number of weekly performances.

Stock Theatre Agreements. A Stock theatre presents consecutive productions of different plays with no lay-off or hiatus between productions. The various types of Stock Agreements are: CORST (Council of Resident Stock Theatres); COST (Council of Stock Theatres); MSUA (Musical Stock/Unit Attraction); Outdoor Drama; RMTA (Resident Musical Theatre Association), all of which are listed individually in this section with greater detail.

Theatre For Young Audiences (TYA). The TYA Agreement covers productions of plays expressly written, created or adapted to be performed for children. There are two forms of contract: the weekly contract and the per-performance contract. Performances are generally done during normal school hours and are limited to 90 minutes in length. In addition to performances, the agreement allows associated "Artist Activity," such as classes with the students. Local and overnight touring are permitted, but expenses are required when actors are required to sleep away from their place of residence.

University/Resident Theatre Association Agreement (URTA). The URTA Agreement contains four minimum salary tiers based upon weekly box office gross and number of performances. This is available to colleges and universities that employ professional actors and stage managers on a regular basis to perform with students. Visit the URTA Web Site for more information about the association.

Western Civic Light Opera (WCLO). The WCLO agreement is used in Western Region community non-profit musical theatres. Touring is permitted between WCLO theatres and, under certain circumstances, into theatres that are not signatories to the WCLO agreement. Per diem is required when the actor performs overnight tours away from the theatre.

The Workshop Agreement. Workshop is a special agreement administered by the Eastern Region and is used for the development of new works, usually a musical, and usually prior to an intended Production Agreement engagement. Salaries are lower than standard Production rates in exchange for participation in a percentage of gross box office receipts and subsidiary rights.