99-Seat Review Committee releases statement in advance of Tuesday’s vote by Actors’ Equity Association national council on controversial new proposal that would eliminate availability of current 99-Seat Theater Plan in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (April 20, 2015) — In the wake of a recent advisory vote by Los Angeles members of Actors’ Equity Association that will be taken under consideration when the AEA national council meets on Tuesday, April 21 to determine the fate of Los Angeles’ current 99-Seat Theater Plan, the 99-Seat Theater Review Committee has released a statement.
AEA has put forth a three-pronged proposal that would effectively eliminate availability of the current Plan, which permits its members to perform in theaters with fewer than 100 seats for a stipend, in favor of minimum wage requirements for both rehearsals and performances. 99-Seat proponents argue that the new proposal will destroy L.A.’s intimate theater scene, and have asked the union to sit down at the table with its members to work out a better plan. With a turnout of 44.6%, members voted 2,046 to 1,075 against implementing the new AEA proposal in the advisory referendum, which is not binding.
What follows is a statement from the Review Committee, which was created to monitor and study the impact, implementation, problems and operations of the 99-Seat Plan and is made up of plaintiffs, or their designates, from a 1987 lawsuit against Equity by its members.
“We are encouraged by the results of Friday’s advisory referendum. We look forward to working together with Equity to strategize, study and craft a workable 99-Seat Plan that will take into account not only where we are presently, but also where we would like to be five and ten years from now. If these past months have shown us anything, it is that Los Angeles is a vital and fervent community of artists who are united in their resolve that 99-seat theater continue to thrive.
We have sent an email to executive director, Mary McColl, assistant executive director/Western regional director Gale E. Gabler and president Nick Wyman requesting that the national council, which is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, postpone any decision regarding 99-seat theater until an in-depth study and thorough conversations with actors, community leaders and theater producers can be successfully completed.
Change is needed, and we look forward to working closely with AEA’s senior staff, the Western regional board and New York’s national council to create that blueprint.”
The members of the current Review Committee are Sean Branney, Martha Demson, John Flynn, Gary Grossman, Simon Levy, Tom Ormeny and Joe Stern.