Posted by Bruce Miller
Chase Kniffen, our associate artistic director, has suggested a pretty interesting idea. If you're an actor who works or would like to work with Barksdale Theatre and/or Theatre IV, I'd be pleased to hear your opinion.
The idea is this. Currently we pay a stipend to non-union actors on a per performance basis. What if those actors were to receive the exact same amount of money for their work on a production, but that money would be divided up into bi-weekly payments over the entire work period (rehearsal and performance) rather than per performance payments over the performance period only? The total received by the actor would be the same, but it would be paid out on a bi-weekly basis beginning with the first day of rehearsal.
Let me be clear. The actors would not be receiving any additional money, or any less money, but they would be receiving it over a longer period of time which would include the rehearsal period. The checks would be smaller, but they would be spread out over a longer period of time to include rehearsals, so the total amount received would be the same.
Please let me also acknowledge that the money we pay to our non-union actors is too little. We all wish it could be more. We all know it should be more. We're working our hardest to increase contributions and ticket sales so that one day it can and will be more.
One reason this plan of beginning payments following the first rehearsal is being suggested is because actors begin incurring expenses on that date, but as things now stand, they don't start receiving their stipends until after Opening Night. Also, expectations for professional job performance are the same during the rehearsal period as the performance period, so why shouldn't the timeline of payments reflect this?
If you'd like to voice an opinion, we'd love to hear it. Don't let the bi-weekly (every other week) timeline be a stumbling block. If you love the idea of the spread out payments, let us know. If you really prefer the checks to be weekly rather than bi-weekly, let us know that too.
We're very interested in your opinions. Thanks in advance for sending them in. If enough actors want us to make this change, we're going to make it. If enough actors prefer to maintain the status quo, we're going to do that.
You can respond anonymously, if you must, but we'd love to know who feels what, if you're comfortable providing your name. You can comment to this post, or you can send me an email. My coded email address can be found at the end of the previous blog. If you need assistance figuring out the code, call my assistant, Brittany Taylor, at 783-1688, ext 1113.
Thanks for your consideration.