Equity Preps Regional Meets

Actors' Equity Association will hold meetings for its three U.S. regions -- Eastern, Central, and Western -- on Fri., April 4. Members in all regions will hear from candidates for the union's officer and national-council positions via telephone hookup. Out West, members will also be invited to comment on three regional contracts that are up for negotiation.

The union election involves selection of eight national officers and 17 open council seats. Ballots will be mailed to members on Mon., April 7; deadline for receiving marked ballots from members is Fri., May 16, with vote tabulation taking place Sat., May 17.

The Eastern regional meeting in New York will see presentation of the Rosetta LeNoire Award.

At the Western regional meeting, the union will solicit suggestions from members on the Bay Area Theatre (BAT), Western Civic Light Opera (WCLO), and Hollywood Area Theatre (HAT) agreements.

The BAT agreement is used within the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area in seasonal not-for-profit theatres with fewer than 400 seats. The theatres must have not previously produced under a standard Equity pact. There are five salary tiers based on a box office gross formula, providing for flexibility in seating capacity and number of performances per week.

The WCLO contract is used in the Western region's community nonprofit musical theatres. Touring is permitted between WCLO theatres and -- under certain circumstances -- in theatres that are not signatories to the WCLO agreement. Per diem is required when the actor performs overnight tours away from the theatre.

The HAT pact is used in theatres with fewer than 500 seats presenting productions in the county of Los Angeles. There are four categories based on seating capacity and seven salary levels based on gross box-office receipts.

'Dora' Goes Equity

"Dora the Explorer Live!" -- based on the Nickelodeon cartoon character -- has signed a special agreement with Equity, similar to earlier pacts the union has entered into for two other popular cartoon-based shows, "Blue's Clues Live!" and "Scooby Doo in Stagefright." Media corporation Clear Channel Entertainment produces the live presentations.

The Dora pact runs for two-years, through March 6, 2005. Minimum salaries in the first year are: actor, $587; stage manager, $1,071; and assistant stage manager, $801. And in the second year: $605 for actors, $1,103 for stage managers, and $825 for ASMs. The per diem is $575 weekly and will remain at that level for the life of the contract. Health for the first year is $115 per week, going up to $125 in the second year. Pension is 5.5% for the first year, and 6% in the second year.