AEA Logo

About Equity

Member Portal

  About Equity Home

  Offices & Staff
  Contracts & Codes
  The Foundation
  History & Awards


AEA President

From the President

Mentor Up. Mentor Down.

AEA President Nick Wyman

President Nick Wyman
photo credit:

By Nick Wyman

I was mulling about Father's Day (and if you just said "Oh, yeah, the Oliver Hailey play for which Marian Seldes won her Tony." - Congratulations! You have just won your Theatre Geek merit badge and you really need to get out more.). I like being a father, though not so much Father's Day. (Fathering to me is its own reward and acknowledgement.) I am the biological father of three, but the figurative and surrogate father of dozens and dozens of folks with whom I have worked early in their career.

I have advised them about mortgages and marriages; I have coached them on scenes and sides. I have weighed in on agents and auditions and the other anxieties of their business. I have amused them with anecdotes about performances and performers past. I have reassured them with tales of my own colossal screw-ups.

In short, I have probably been a tedious pedant, but my surrogate sons and daughters have gotten their own back by teaching me. They have taught me about new restaurants and newly fashionable neighborhoods. They have taught me about computer programs and FaceBook and iPods and iPads and smart phones and apps, apps, apps. They have revealed to me the latest slang and the hippest fashions (to no avail: I am stuck in 60's preppy). They have tried to teach me about contemporary music and the latest dances. In exchange for the dubious gift of my wisdom, they have shared their youth.

One of the benefits of our profession is the sense of family, of community, when we are doing a show. Let us carry that sense of family, of community, into all aspects of our interactions. People of all ages and experience meet on a level platform in our business. We are friendly compatriots on a first-name basis whether we are 25 or 75. I urge you to take advantage of this multi-generational paradigm. Reach out to the older generation and ask them what advice they might have for someone at your stage of life. Reach out to the younger generation and ask them what apps and social networking tools they have found most useful. (I would not necessarily advise reversing the process; proffering unasked-for advice is a much dicier proposition and smacks of presumption.)

But do ask. Ask how your older or younger colleagues keep in touch with agents, casting folks, directors. Ask how they keep in shape; ask what books they are reading, what shows they would recommend. Let us learn from one another. Use your fellow actors and stage managers as a resource. Be a resource. Mentor up. Mentor down.

Erik Erikson coined the term "generativity" for a stage of life in which one attempts to give back, to leave one's mark on the world by caring for others and creating/accomplishing things that make the world a better place. This is something we all can do, no matter what stage of life we are in. We can all be "fathers" - even those of us who are as yet only sons - or daughters.

Contact President Nick Wyman at


Equity Government pages:

Regional Boards
Area Liaisons
Labor Affiliation

Click here for AEA Offices & Staff pages

From the President Archives:

To Join or Not to Join? My Rejoinder

Wait ’Til This Year!

Attention Must Be Paid

Beginners, Please

One Voice: 50,058 Strong


Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

One for All, All for One All Over

Springtime for Equity


Keeping the Faith

Substantive Work

At the Big Table

What in the Heck am I Doing?

Telling Our Story

Why I Do Theatre

You Have a Dream

Abundance and Gratitude

When Good Shows Go Bad

Make Your Own Luck

Mentor Up. Mentor Down.

Work Art and "Work"

CashCowasaurus vs. CatchMeasaurus

Can I Get Some Service Here?

Touring 101 or How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Touring 102 - A Look at the Business Model of Touring

Exit, Gracefully, a Champion

Happy 100th Birthday

The Five C's

Love and Boundaries

Plenary Panoply

Which Side Are You On?

March 24, 2011
Marching in Madison

March 1, 2011
A Vision for All of Us

February 2, 2011
Three Requests

December 16, 2010
Earn Your "MBA"

November 4, 2010
Deputize Yourself

September 1, 2010
The Fall of the Twin Tiers

July 27, 2010

June 21, 2010
Thank You

Long-time Councillor Nick Wyman is elected the President of Actors' Equity Association

Home | Members Only | About Equity | Member Benefits | Document Library
FAQ | News and Media | Membership Department | Contact

© 2018 . Actors' Equity Association. Terms of Use | Privacy