Michael Wheeler has a great article on the Praxis Theatre blog titled “Why Canadian Actorsâ€™ Equity Association is important and why it has to change” about the conflict with the Canadian Actor’s Equity Association for artists who create their own work.
Of particular interest are the 5 dramatic shifts in Canadian Theatre. Â These start with:
There are very few artists under 35 who categorize themselves solely as â€œactorsâ€. We all have multiple identities now. Someone is a playwright-dancer-director, another artist is an actor-choreographer-writer, and I even know a stage manager-lighting designer-poet. These are the people creating art now. Most importantly, we are all producers. If you try to explain this to anyone at CAEA they look at you like youâ€™re speaking gibberish. Itâ€™s like there are no check boxes to accommodate this reality so weâ€™re just going to pretend it isnâ€™t the case.
Of course, there are a lot of artists over 35 who fit that same bill. Â I don’t know anyone who is “just an actor” anymore. Â Every theatre artist I know writes or otherwise has a hand in creating their own shows. Â Sometimes I wonder if anyone can “just be an actor” these days.
I’m not an Equity actor (I hope to be, but I’m not there yet), but the decisions that Equity makes on this issue will have a profound effect on the future of Canadian theatre. Â Every theatre artists should be looking at this issue, and every Equity artist who can should be taking place in the Regional AGM.