Actors’ Equity Association Supports Victory Gardens Theater Workers

Chicago – Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre, has issued the following statement in response to recent events at Victory Gardens Theater:

“As the events surrounding Victory Gardens Theater and its Board of Directors’ failed stewardship have been made public this week, union staff and leadership have been in continual contact with the stage managers and actors working on the production of cullud wattah. Actors' Equity Association stands fully in support of our members, and their right to a safe work environment – as well as the right of all workers to work in a safe environment free from harassment, discrimination and bullying.

“It is deeply disheartening to see an organization that has very publicly wrestled with institutional racism in recent memory again be perceived as unable to support workers of color without whom Victory Gardens Theater could neither exist nor thrive.

“Playwright Erika Dickerson-Despenza has pulled the rights to cullud wattah from the theatre, which is her right. The union has ensured that those workers signed to Equity contracts will be paid through the original scheduled closing date.

“Any actor or stage manager working at Victory Gardens – or any other Equity theatre – who believes their employer has violated any provision of their collective bargaining agreement should contact their business rep right away ( Rehearsal- or performance-related emergencies after hours should be reported immediately via the emergency hotline, 888-802-5307. Additionally, members can make secure, confidential online reports of workplace harassment through the union’s online portal (, the Lighthouse anonymous reporting app or by calling Lighthouse at 833-550-0030.”

ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA.  #EquityWorks

July 8, 2022