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October 3, 2003

Chicago's New Member Center Now Open

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Central Regional Director
Kathryn V. Lamkey

Dev, Patrick, Alan

Central Regional Vice-President Dev Kennedy, President Patrick Quinn, Executive Director Alan Eisenberg

Dan Frick, Tom Murray

Councillors Dan Frick and Tom Murray

Quinn, Lamkey, Ward

Patrick Quinn, Kathryn V. Lamkey, and Chicago CFM Union President Ed Ward

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Left to right, back row: Natalie Bacon, Luther Goins, Ann Shalla, Elizabeth Reyes
front row: Rosey Flores, Sharon Carlson, Diane Tabor

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Left to right: Clara Rice, the former Assistant Director of Cincinnati Playhouse Theatre, Phil Santora, Managing Director of Northlight Theatre), Equity Staff Member Susie deGracia, Equity Staff Member Tim Shields, Managing Director Milwaukee Rep Theatre, Diane Dalton, General Manager Milwaukee Rep Theatre, and Buzz Ward, Executive Director Cincinnati Playhouse Theatre

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Darwin Apel, Chicago Bonding Secretary Margaret Kielly, and Nat Davis, CRB Emeritus

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The member center, before and after.

Equity's eagerly anticipated New Member Center opened for a "sneak preview" and 90th Anniversary Celebration, on Monday, September 8, 2003 following the Central Regional Board meeting in Chicago.

Equity's Central Regional Director, Kathryn V. Lamkey, welcomed invited guests, and introduced various National Officers and Staff Members: Equity President Patrick Quinn; Equity Executive Director Alan Eisenberg; Central Regional Vice President Dev Kennedy, Assistant Executive Director for Finance and Administration, Guy Pace; National Director for Administration Steve DiPaola; and Council members Robert W. Behr, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Dan Frick, Thomas Joyce, and Tom Murray.

Also attending were: Central Regional Board members Robert Breuler, Ariane Dolan, Nate Davis, Lisa Gordon, Mark David Kaplan, Ronald Keaton, Kathi Koenig, Richard Shavzin, and Peggy Thorp; along with many Central Regional committee members and Chicago Equity Office Staff Members.

Lamkey Expresses "Deep Gratitude"

"The initial petition for the Member Center came to us before we moved the Equity offices to South Clark Street," said Lamkey in her opening remarks. "In fact, part of what motivated our move to this location, was the desire for additional space, which was not possible at North Wabash." Lamkey profusely thanked the Audition Committee and various Board and Committee members who advocated for the Center: "Looking back, I'd like to express my deepest gratitude to everyone who made this happen - our Chicago area membership, the Audition Committee and the Central Regional Board, all of whom pushed very hard to make this happen. I also wish to express special thanks to Alan, Guy and the entire Council, who, in the end, provided the resources necessary to accomplish this."

Located adjacent to the Equity office, the 800 square-foot Member Center has a mirrored wall, ballet barre, sprung floor, and a piano to accommodate musical and dance auditions. Besides auditions, it will be used for other activities such as a new members' orientation session, a Stage Managers' CPR certification and first aid training seminar, and an anticipated upcoming health fair in conjunction with the Health in the Arts Program at the University of Illinois Chicago.

Lamkey acknowledged the staff for their patience and hard work throughout the past year, citing Steve DiPaola, Equity's National Director for Administration, who spent several months in Chicago facilitating the move and the construction of the new office space. Office Manager Jeffrey Johnston handled day-to-day onsite details - while planning his own wedding! A year ago July, during the transition, the staff worked two to a desk, four to a phone all in a hallway for a month to keep the office functioning. "Equally important, I'd like to thank the membership for putting up with our ever changing phone number in the summer of 2002 and the period of time that we operated with one phone line," she added.

Come to the New Member Center!

"We want members to use our resources in the Chicago office as much as possible," Lamkey emphasized.
"The Member Center will generate more foot traffic, so that members have more reasons to come to our offices - to use the library, to meet our staff, to participate in membership meetings, to come to as many activities as possible. Since we're centrally located, we hope to attract members not only from the immediate Chicago vicinity, but from other parts of the Central Region and elsewhere across the country as well."

The Member Center has already held auditions for the national tour of MAMMA MIA, the upcoming Broadway musical BOMBAY DREAMS, Buffalo's Studio Arena Theatre, the Apollo Professional Theatre (Peoria), the Chicago production of MENOPAUSE, THE MUSICAL - Stage Left, Wabash College, the Human Race Theatre (Dayton), and the New World Repertory Theatre.

Kennedy Touts Benefits for Actors and Stage Managers

Central Regional Vice President Dev Kennedy thanked the Council on behalf of the Central Region for funding which has provided the New Member Center. "The new facility will benefit our members in a variety of ways," he said. "First, we are hoping to increase the frequency and ease of auditions for our Central Regional producers and theatres, as well as producers from outside of the Central Region. The new center is much more attractive to out-of town producers, who will be inclined to come back again, knowing the facility and its proximity to the Equity office.

"Secondly, the member center will make it much easier for members in the Central Region. Instead of having to fly to New York or Los Angeles, a member can drive in from St. Louis or Milwaukee for the day, for example, saving airfare and hotel costs…and you can change at the member center before and after your audition!"

"One of the biggest things we are always fighting is not getting a chance, and the Member Center gives our members that opportunity, especially if they live within driving distance of Chicago. Everyone on our Board and Staff is dedicated to making auditions a quality experience, to make it more beneficial for our actors. It's a win-win situation for actors and producers." Dev added, "We're also looking at other activities in the center, such as seminars, new member orientations and meetings."

Praise from Equity President Patrick Quinn

Speaking on behalf of the entire 45,000 member Association, President Patrick Quinn noted "how delighted we are to provide this wonderful facility for our members." Quinn presented a Waterford crystal vase to former Central Regional Vice-President Madeleine Fallon, and thanked her for her many years of service to the Council and the Association: "I have always marveled at Madeleine's dedication to and love for her fellow actors-and today I am pleased to present this gift as a small token of our appreciation for her 21 years of service as Vice President. And on a personal note, I look forward to continuing to work with her as trustees of the Equity-League Health and Pension Plan," said Quinn.

Among the guests were representatives from The Actors Fund, AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, SAG (Screen Actors Guild), the Chicago Federation of Musicians, the League of Chicago Theatres, many Chicago theatres as well as representatives from as far away as Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Rockford, and Lansing, Michigan.

On Friday, October 3, 2003, Equity hosted its first Open House for the membership at-large in conjunction with the fall Membership Meeting.


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