Actors' Equity President Patrick Quinn met with union members across the country last month to hear their concerns and discuss the future. He also met with professionals on the other side of the casting table, including producers and artistic directors.
Even before Quinn ran for the union's presidency, he had a reputation for knowing "all the nooks and crannies" of its various contracts. He believes it is that extensive knowledge that put him into his current leadership position, when historically the job has gone to a "name star." He gained his expertise by working without pay at Equity for 23 years, including a long stint chairing the production pact, and by being a longtime professional.
"I ran on a platform of being a working actor," he told Back Stage shortly after the election results were announced last May. "Just because I'm the president, I can't go to some lofty place. I have to remain very much in touch with my compatriots."
In order to do that, Quinn traveled to Chicago and Los Angeles—whose loftiness is open to debate—and participated in several events. According to the Equity website, he was in California Jan. 2-7, during which he attended a staff meeting, attended a new membership orientation, met informally with the Western Regional Board and participated in the Western Regional membership meeting, and was the guest of honor at a reception where he met those producers and artistic directors.
From there it was off to Chicago, where the Regional membership meeting was held Jan. 8 in the Chicago Shakespeare Festival's facility on the city's new Navy Pier. Quinn attended a Central Regional board meeting and met with its vice president, Madeline Fallon, who was honored for her extended contract.
"I was able to meet with scores of our members in both cities, both officially and unofficially," Quinn said. "It was a great opportunity to learn the internal workings of these two offices and get closer to and understand the concerns of members living there.
"It was an incredible learning experience."