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What Actors Equity minimum wage means for the future of LA theater




Actors protest in support of 99-seat theaters outside the Actors Equity Association's headquarters in North Hollywood.
Actors protest in support of 99-seat theaters outside the Actors Equity Association's headquarters in North Hollywood.
Brian Watt

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A majority of L.A.-based theater actors aren't very happy with their union this morning.

Just a few days after L.A. theater actors took an advisory vote that went heavily against a minimum wage, their national union went the opposite way in the vote that counted. The union, Actors Equity, voted yesterday to require most small theater productions throughout Los Angeles County to pay actors the minimum wage, currently $9, for performances and rehearsals. That's expected to make it much harder for small non-profit theaters to mount shows.

Operators of those theater groups say they can't make enough from ticket sales to pay a minimum wage. The union's release touts a compromise that allows theaters of under 50-seats to avoid paying the minimum, under certain restrictions.

Will this allow for as many small theater productions as currently exist in Los Angeles County, or will the mandatory minimum leave many theaters vacant?

Guest:

Leo Marks, an actor who is very involved in the organization I Love 99