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January 07, 2004

Actors' Equity Recognizes ANTC (Association of Not-For-Profit Theatre Companies) For Purposes of Collective Bargaining

The Council of Actor's Equity has approved the recommendations of the Off Broadway Committee and Equity's Eastern Regional Board, recognizing ANTC - the Association of Not-for-Profit Theatre Companies - for the purposes of collective bargaining. The result will be new contract governing employment for Equity Actors in eight prominent New York City theatre companies beginning in the 2004-2005 season.

"We are looking forward to a productive and mutually beneficial relationship achieved through the process of collective bargaining," said Equity's Eastern Regional Director Carol Waaser and ANTC President Jodi Schoenbrun. "This new agreement recognizes the importance of these institutional theatres to the New York theatre, and their commitment to fair and equitable treatment of their performers. The result will be better terms for both sides."

The ANTC theatres include the Atlantic Theater Company, Classic Stage Company, MCC Theater, The New Group, Primary Stages, Signature Theatre Company, Vineyard Theatre and Women's Project and Productions.

In 2001, ANTC approached Equity with a request to negotiate collectively, which Equity declined, opting to create individually bargained Special Agreements with each theatre. According to Equity Business Representative Patrick Lee, "these individual negotiations became in effect a coordinated process, resulting in nearly identical terms for each company, with the exception of salaries. This dispelled Equity's initial concerns and resulted in better terms for all parties, including salary increases, improved safe and sanitary conditions and rules that better define proper Stage Management duties."

In the last 8 years, ANTC Theatres have garnered 3 Pulitzer Prizes, 4 Oppenheimer Awards, 35 Obies Awards, 15 Lucille Lortel Awards, 10 Drama Desk Awards, 18 Audelco Awards, and more than 50 other prestigious awards. Several of these award-winning productions originally produced at ANTC theatres have continued on in open-ended runs in the commercial arena including WIT, AVENUE Q, and THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LENANE. The work from these theatres has also sparked hundreds of regional theatre productions.

According to ANTC's Mission Statement, "ANTC Theatres have built a reputation of producing challenging and daring productions with extraordinary artists and exceptional production values. The work produced is of a nature that no other producer would attempt; ANTC productions are risky, yet essential to the foundation of the New York theatre experience and the enhancement of the American theatre landscape. Through the development of new plays and musicals or the redefining of a classic, these theatres are the arena in which the industry's most talented artists thrive and new artists are discovered by audiences."

Collective bargaining will begin sometime in the Spring of 2004.

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