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October 23, 2002

Nashville liaison committee selected, hotline activated, in Equity's newest liaison city

Nashville, Tennessee has been added as Equity's 24th Liaison city. The move was approved by the Council at its meeting on September 17 following recommendations from the Eastern Committee for Area Liaison Affairs (CALA) and the Eastern Regional Board. (Under Equity's By-Laws, in order to be approved as a Liaison city, there must be at least 100 paid-up active members in the area.)

The Equity theatres in Nashville, operating under a variety of contracts, include: Tennessee Rep (League of Resident Theatres), Nashville Children's Theatre (Theatre for Young Audiences), Ryman Auditorium (Letter of Agreement/Stock), Nashville Shakespeare Festival (Letter of Agreement/LORT and LOA/Outdoor Drama), Mockingbird Theatre (Small Professional Theatre Contract) and People's Branch Theatre (SPTC).

First Membership Meeting

Twenty-seven area members attended the first-ever Equity membership meeting in Nashville, held on October 14, 2002 at the Nashville Children's Theatre. Executive Director Alan Eisenberg, Eastern Regional Director Carol Waaser flew in from New York and Southeast Traveling Rep George Hamrah came up from Orlando for the event.

Eisenberg was "delighted" with the enthusiastic turn-out, adding that "there are many fine Equity theatres in Nashville, and most of the work is going to local actors. It was great to talk with members who are consistently working."

Waaser added that "liaison status is a significant development for the professional acting community in the Nashville area, as well as for the theatres that regularly employ Equity actors."

During the meeting, Waaser and Hamrah explained the Area Liaison system and the function of the Liaison Committee, which serves as a communication link between the Eastern Regional Board and the local membership. The Committee serves in an advisory capacity, and does not determine Equity's national policy, which is set by the nationally-elected Council and three Regional Boards. "However," said Ms. Waaser, "the Board and our various committees listen very carefully to requests and recommendations coming from a Liaison Committee."

Selected to serve on the Committee were: Evelyn Blythe, Daniel Brewer, Matthew Carlton Vali Forrister, Henry Haggard, Misty Lewis, Carol Ponder (alternate), Dorothy Marie Robinson, Julie Rowe, and Brian Webb.

Mr. Eisenberg spoke about upcoming changes in the health plan and the ongoing debate on touring issues. Members discussed the growth in Equity employment in the area over the past six years and voiced some of their concerns. It was agreed that Mr. Hamrah and Christopher Eid, who oversees Equity's Student Outreach Program and coordinates Membership Education activities, will visit Nashville in the near future to hold educational meetings with members, producers and theatre students at local colleges and universities.

Mr. Hamrah spoke about the Hotline, which is used to announce auditions, chorus calls and other job opportunities for local actors. The number is 615-252-6916.

Following the meeting, there was a reception, and conversation continued among members and staff. "Everyone was pleased and excited that Nashville had reached Liaison status and that further growth and attention can be expected" said Mr. Hamrah.

David Lotz
Director of Communications
October 24, 2002

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