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    Posted July 21, 2006

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Philadelphia Members Meet

Past Liaisons Honored

The following report was submitted by the Philadelphia Liaison Committee:

We had a great meeting in Philadelphia on June 12, 2006 at the Independence Brew Pub. Thank you to Liaison Committee member Vince Mancini for being our location scout, party planner and lighting technician. There were many new faces at this meeting-all established AEA members-to hear about local and national events from our guests - Arne Gundersen, Eastern Regional Vice President; Rick Berg, Senior Business Rep and Traveling Business Rep, Joe Erdey.

Back (L-R) Seth Reichgott, AEA VP Arne Gundersen, Tom Helmer, Chris Sapienza, Paul Nolan, Robert Foley
Front (L-F) Margie Price, AEA Senior Business Rep Rick Berg, Jeanette Hartunian, Vince Mancini

Mr. Berg gave us an overview of the revised Business Contract and its new element, the "Memorandum of Understanding." This new agreement is designed to place the AEA member in the driver's seat by putting work acquired in the area of Business Theatre or Live Industrials under an Equity Contract, thereby allowing the member to accrue Equity benefits. Members interested in obtaining a copy of the Memorandum or getting more information may contact Willie Boston in Equity's New York office, (212) 869-8530, or

Joe Erdey gave some history of the Live Arts Code, which is essentially the Members' Project Code with a few changes specific to the Philadelphia Live Arts & Fringe Festivals. The Members' Project Code can be used throughout the year. Both Codes were created for AEA members interested in generating a project to showcase their talents. Guidelines and forms for both the Live Arts/Fringe Festival Code and the Members' Project Code can be obtained by contacting Philadelphia Liaison Margie Price at

Rick Berg is collecting information on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. If you have participated in this Festival in Scotland, please contact him to discuss your experience. He can be reached at (212) 869-8530 or

Members thanked (L-R): Tom Helmer, David Michael-Kenny, Margie Price, and Brian Klinger were among the committee members who received certificates from President Patrick Quinn

Members in attendance at the meeting were overwhelmingly supportive of the new audition policy in Philadelphia: the Theatre Alliance auditions no longer can be used by Equity theatres to fulfill one of the contractual audition days. All Equity theatres are now required to hold auditions at their home theatre either for the season or on a show-by-show basis.

Area Liaisons Honored

Finally, we marked our 27th Anniversary by honoring several members of our theatre community: Will Stutts, Ken Wesler, David-Michael Kenney, Mark Saxton, Dan Olmstead, Brian V. Klinger (OFM - Order of Friars Minor) and Tom Helmer, our Philadelphia Area Liaisons from 1979-2005. Each received a framed certificate personally signed by Patrick Quinn, with a quote from Henrik Ibsen: "A community is like a ship, everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm."

What Does It Mean To Be A Union Member?

Philadelphia's local newsletter highlighted the response to interview questions posed by current Liaison Margie Price. If anyone is interested in reading the responses from the other honorees, you may contact Margie. One of the questions was, "What did it/does it mean to you to be a Union member? And David-Michael Kenney gave such a passionate response we wanted to share it:

    "Everything. Ever wonder why we get paid on Thursdays within the week we work? Before Equity, actors got paid on the Monday after the week they worked. They had to come back to the theatre on the day off. Unethical producers were known to close up the show after the Sunday performance and skip town. Or, write bad checks… Under Equity contract you have to receive your check on Thursday and cash it on Friday. Add to that the requirement of proper Workers' Comp and unemployment insurance, along with pension and health, and a credit union for actors and you will see the value of being a member of a Union."

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