LORT Contracts: Everything You Need to Know

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Photo Source: COURTESY LEAGUE OF RESIDENT THEATRES

While the Great White Way may be the ultimate ambition for many actors, it’s certainly not the only place to find work. Regional theaters across the country are hubs for actor employment. In fact, the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) contract is the second-largest employment provider for Actors’ Equity Association members behind the Production Contract, issued for Broadway and some national tour productions.

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What is LORT?

The cast of Lincoln Center Theater's BECKY NURSE OF SALEMThe cast of Lincoln Center Theater's “Becky Nurse of Salem” Credit: Kyle Froman

The League of Resident Theatres (LORT) is the largest theater association in the United States. Though it began with 26 member theaters, the national organization now includes 79 member theaters throughout all of the major markets of the U.S. In addition to its principal objectives of promoting community interest and support of resident theater, LORT also acts as a bargaining agent for its members on labor-related issues. 

Since 1965, LORT has administered collective bargaining agreements between its member theaters and Actors’ Equity Association, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and United Scenic Artists. Your minimum fee will be determined by these contracts if you join the show at a LORT theater as a principal cast member, director, choreographer, stage manager, scenic designer, costume designer, lighting technician, or sound technician. 

According to LORT, to join the organization a theater must: 

  • Be incorporated as a nonprofit IRS-approved organization
  • Rehearse each production for a minimum of three weeks
  • Have a playing season of 12 weeks or more
  • Operate under the LORT-Equity, LORT-Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and LORT-United Scenic Artists contracts

How do the LORT contracts work?

The Bandaged Place“The Bandaged Place” at the Roundabout Theatre Company Credit: Tricia Baron

Much like the contractual system for Equity national tours, LORT contracts are broken down into lettered categories:

  • Group A+: stages on Broadway that are Tony-eligible  
  • Group A: stages on Broadway
  • Group B+: stages averaging $176,000 and above in box office over four years
  • Group B: stages averaging between $86,000 and $175,999 in box office over four years
  • Group C: stages averaging between $63,000 and $85,999 in box office over four years
  • Group D: stages averaging $62,999 and below in box office over four years

When it comes to fees for crew members, Category C theaters are divided between houses with 450 seats or more (C-1) and houses with less than 450 seats (C-2). 

Emily Van Scoy, general manager of the LORT-B Hartford Stage in Hartford, Connecticut, emphasizes that these letters are not a ranking system. “Their financial model is different,” she says of other categories. “It doesn’t mean they’re not producing great work. It means they’re a smaller organization.”

RELATED: How to Join the Actors' Equity Association 

Minimum fees for actors

  • Category A+: $1,778 a week
  • Category A: $1,207 a week
  • Category B+: $1,096 a week
  • Category B: $1,008 a week
  • Category C: $926 a week
  • Category D: $739 a week

Minimum fees for directors (5 weeks or less employment)

  • Category A+: $33,913
  • Category A: $26,358
  • Category B+: $21,845
  • Category B: $18,109
  • Category C-1: $14,894
  • Category C-2: $9,854
  • Category D: $7,964

According to the LORT-SDC agreement, a choreographer’s minimum fee is 75% of the director’s minimum fee. The salary for director-choreographers under the LORT-SDC contract is the sum of a director’s minimum fee and choreographer’s minimum fee at that theater together. 

Minimum fees for scenery and costume design 

  • Category A+: $12,288
  • Category A: $10,006 
  • Category B+: $8,180 
  • Category B: $6,670 
  • Category C-1: $5,001 
  • Category C-2: $3,891 
  • Category D: $3,100

Minimum fees for lighting and sound 

  • Category A+: $11,408
  • Category A: $7,463
  • Category B+ $6,352
  • Category B: $5,281
  • Category C-1: $3,813
  • Category C-2: $3,175
  • Category D: $3,100

Minimum salaries for stage managers (non-repertory) 

  • Group A+ (dramatic): $2,500 a week
  • Group A+ (musical): $2,903 a week
  • Group A: $1,752 a week
  • Group B+: $1,454 a week
  • Group B: $1,202 a week
  • Group C: $1,109 a week
  • Group D: $911 a week

Minimum salaries for stage managers (repertory) 

  • Group A: $1,752 a week
  • Group B+: $1,521 a week
  • Group B: $1,328 a week
  • Group C: $1,203 a week
  • Group D: $1,029 a week

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