Please note: the Equity Membership Candidate Program is being phased out, and Equity will stop admitting new applicants to the EMC program effective May 8, 2023. Equity’s Open Access membership policy is being extended indefinitely. Going forward, Equity membership will be offered to all theatre workers who can demonstrate they have worked professionally as an actor or stage manager within Equity’s geographical jurisdiction. This means that anyone who would qualify to become an Equity Membership Candidate now qualifies to become a full Equity member. LEARN MORE

The Equity Membership Candidate Program (EMC) permits actors and stage managers in training to credit theatrical work in certain Equity theatres towards eventual membership in Equity. Candidates must complete at least 25 creditable weeks of work at any of the participating theatres. The weeks do not have to be consecutive and may be accumulated over any length of time. After accruing 25 weeks, members may also opt to enter "Phase II" and remain an EMC for up to 25 more weeks.

Members of any performing arts sister union (SAG-AFTRA, AGMA, AGVA, GIAA) would normally be required to sign an Equity contract when working in Equity’s jurisdiction. However, you may request a waiver of your professional status in order to train for the theatre. This allows you to work as an EMC for a maximum of 25 weeks. If you join another sister union after registering for the EMC program, you may choose to join Equity after 25 weeks, or you may continue to work through "Phase II" for a total of 50 weeks as a Member Candidate.

Equity Membership Candidate program logo


To register for the program, you must first secure a qualifying position at an Equity theatre that offers the Equity Membership Candidate program. Complete the EMC Registration Form supplied by the theatre and return it to them with the non-refundable $200 registration fee, payable to Actors’ Equity Association. Members of any performing arts sister union (see above) must complete the Modified EMC Program section of the registration form.


You must complete the EMC Registration Form each time you accrue weeks with a participating theatre. EMC weeks are submitted by the theatre and tracked by Equity. Once you have accrued enough weeks to complete the program (see above), you will be notified by Equity. Be aware that there are limitations as to the types of work that can be credited under provisions of various Equity contracts.


Upon completion of the program, your eligibility to join Equity lasts for five years. During that time, if you are engaged to work at an Equity theatre, you must be signed to an Equity contract. If you do NOT choose to join within the five-year period, your accumulated weeks of credit will expire, your registration fee will be forfeited, and you will not receive the credit toward a future initiation fee.

When you wish to join Equity, you must complete a membership application and pay the required minimum of the initiation fee. Your EMC registration fee will be credited against your initiation fee (except as noted above). Once you join Equity, you will also be subject to Basic dues and Working dues.


  • It is your responsibility to keep your contact information current with Equity's Membership Department.
  • Although your EMC weeks are tracked by Equity, we encourage candidates to maintain their own work week records. Producers may not submit weeks correctly or in a timely manner.
  • Equity policy does not permit the duplication of names among its members. Be aware that the name you use as a Membership Candidate may not be available when you become eligible to join Equity.
  • There are no established salaries for EMCs except those agreed upon by you and the producer who employs you.
  • EMC policies and procedures are subject to change. Please check Equity's website for updates.

Please contact the nearest Equity office with questions or concerns regarding the EMC program.