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Actors’ Equity Association Has Paused Safety Approvals for Theatre Production in California Amidst Pandemic Surge

Stage Directions • Industry NewsTheatre Buzz • January 12, 2021

Focused on protecting members and fighting the COVID-19 surge in California, Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing professional stage managers and actors in live theatre, has temporarily paused consideration of safety plans in the state of California while the state battles unprecedented infection rates of COVID-19.

“For now, with COVID-19 surging, we have paused approvals in California to protect the safety and health of the community and our members. With hospitals full to capacity, we cannot approve safety protocols for work at this point in time,” said Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity Association. “We will be monitoring the situation on the ground in California on a regular basis to see when we can resume approving safety plans. Our hearts go out to the frontline health care workers of California as they work to bring the pandemic under control.”

Virtual Zoom-style performances from home where those involved do not have contact with each other are still eligible for consideration.  Approval of all other safety plans in California have been paused. There are currently no Equity-approved theatrical productions running in California.

Since the spring, Equity has been working with Dr. David Michaels, former head of OSHA and Professor at the George Washington School of Public Health. With his guidance, the union has collaborated with theatres nationwide on individualized safety plans for the production of live theatre during the pandemic.

View a list of live productions Equity has approved here.

Equity has made its safety guidance for theatres wanting to resume production under the pandemic publicly available. It stipulates that infection numbers must be under control in a given area in order to proceed to mount live theatre.

Further information from Actors’ Equity Association:




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