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If you are a new member and have any questions
contact Tom Miller, Director of Education and Outreach,
at 212.869.8530, ext. 424 or


“The Actors’ Equity Association new-member reception is one of the great unsung rituals
of the New York theater world.”
--- Dan Holloway, Backstage Blog ---


- New Member web page-


Welcoming New Members in Chicago and New York City

Whitney Bashor speaking to New Members in NYC and via hookup in Chicago.

“I knew I loved performing,” said guest speaker Whitney Bashor during the New York City and Chicago New Member Reception on April 27, 2015. She had left New York, moved home to Iowa and taken a job working in a bank. “I felt called to suffer the business down to my bones, but no one was offering me a job and it felt crazy. After a day spent reviewing accounts for fraudulent activity and answering phones I asked the universe for a sign – anything.” Lying on her parent’s living room floor she asked the universe what she should do with her life.

The very next day, the phone rang: a director (and friend), offered her a job as an immediate replacement at the Signature Theatre in Washington, D.C. “I quit my job at the bank, packed up my two suitcases and headed to D.C.,” she said. “I’m happy to say I’ve been working ever since.” In 2014, Bashor made her Broadway debut in Bridges of Madison County.

Offering advice to the packed houses in NYC and Chicago, the actor told new members that if she had the chance to give her younger-self advice, she would say…

  • Your career will ebb and flow. The sooner you accept the triumphs and disappointments the quicker you will find happiness in your career.
  • Be inspired by other performers but don’t emulate them.  Being authentically you is exciting.  
  • Run your own race. Your career is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Create a community with supportive friends who will lift you up.
  • Develop who you are as a human being. The person with a full life will always be the most interesting person in the room.

Whitney Bashor in her Barrymore Award Winning performance as Clara in Philadelphia Theatre Company’s THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA.

Bashor ended with, “I got my Equity card in 2007. I remember feeling so excited. I called my Mom and told her the great news. It was the first of many joyful phone calls in my career. The career path we’ve chosen does not guarantee riches or fame, but committing to the work and being a person people want to work with will make your life rich in experience and relationships.”

The New Member Reception, done via video hook-up between NYC and Chicago, provided a welcoming Q & A forum for Equity’s newest members regarding the union’s core function: to negotiate and administer contracts. Additionally, there was a discussion about the responsibilities of membership, Equity Franchised Agents and Equity health insurance and retirement benefits.

Click here to see photos of AEA's New Members in Chicago


Chicago Welcomes New Equity Members

By Tom Miller
Director of Education & Outreach

Ariane Dolan, Councillor and Chair of the Outreach & Education Committee (far left) and John Fasulo, National Director of Membership (far right) flank Equity’s Newest Members

The Chicago office of Actors' Equity Association hosted a New Member Reception on Monday November 14, 2012 in the Association's West Randolph Street office. Chicago area new Members were welcomed by E. Faye Butler, Central Regional Board Member. Also welcoming new Members were Ariane Dolan, Councillor and Chair of the Outreach & Education Committee; Christine Provost, now Central Regional Director; John Fasulo, National Director of Membership and the majority of the Chicago Equity Staff.

The tone of the gathering was warm with a true community feel, affirming the ongoing personal and friendly atmosphere of the Equity office. It was emphasized to the new Members that Equity is there to support their efforts and provide assistance to them as they journey through their careers.

Chicago Actors’ Equity Building

Within the extended Q & A were insights regarding Equity Agreements, membership and benefits. There was also career advice covering how to negotiate your next contract and tips on how to crossover from auditioning exclusively for plays to also auditioning for musicals (and vice versa).

Equity's newest Members also received informational handouts and Equity giveaways.

Chicago New Member Receptions are held once a year. If you were unable to attend the most recent event, the next Reception will be held in the Fall. Watch Equity's website for date and time.

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