Summer Stock Job Offers...what to consider

<p>My D just heard that she has an audition at Strawhats this year. She is a freshman and this is her first time auditioning for summer stock. I understand that the student would most likely have to give the theater an answer within a few days to a week of the offer (eek!). So, she wants to be prepared in the event she receives an offer. She has already read the information that the Strawhats provided on each theater that will attend. The question now is...if/when you get that call, what do you ask about the job? What should you consider/compare before accepting a job? So far, we have the following list of considerations. What else should the student be asking/thinking about?</p>

<p>-Is housing included (if so, what type: house/dorm/apartment, single/double room) If not, is there any assistance in finding housing?</p>

<p>-Is board included (how many meals per week?) If not, is there a kitchen in the house to store & prepare your own food?</p>

<p>-How far is the theater from the house? Is there transportation to/from the theater? Is a car necessary?</p>

<p>-Travel -how much will it cost to travel to/from the job? (Two weeks pay for an airline ticket? Or can you drive there)?</p>

<p>-What is the pay? </p>

<p>-How many weeks will you be working? Rehearsal & production time?</p>

<p>-What role are you being offered? (is this subject to change?)</p>

<p>-Are there other responsibilities required of you (selling tickets, cleaning dorms, waiting tables, hanging lights, unloading trucks, cabaret performances...)</p>

<p>-Time off: how many days per week do you work (do you get a day off), how many shows per day, how many hours in rehearsal each day?</p>

<p>-Are there other benefits (such as classes) available to actors?</p>

<p>-What are the season dates (does it work with my college end/start dates)? Is there any flexibiliy there?</p>

<p>-Equity card/points?</p>

<p>May I suggest that you log onto the Strawhat site, the members area (you might have to ask your daughter for her member id and password). Select "theatres" and you will have a list the ones who are attending. Each theatre specifies the specific information that you are looking for.</p>

<p>Thanks KB1127. We have spent a lot of time looking at the information posted on the strawhat site for the various theaters attending. It is certainly a good start but it doesn't include all of the specific information that you would need in order to make a decision. For example, on the website many of the theaters state "housing provided" but don't provide details on the housing situation. On a separate note...I am also wondering about a contract. I imagine they would ask the actor to sign a contract of some sort?</p>

<p>Yes, most theaters will ask you to sign a contract of some kind. However, what that contract looks like (and the detail it goes into) can range from "I agree to work for XXX Theater from Date X to Date X and perform duties as previous discussed" to more detailed contracts that specify everything. Needless to say, be wary about signing a contract that doesn't provide some kind of information about expectations, hours, etc. Perhaps surprising (it was to me!), it is sometimes an equity theater that provides the sketchy contract and the non-eq that provides the detailed contract. You just never know. Break a leg!</p>

<p>Possibly Equity houses have less detail, because some of the issues are automatically covered by Equity itself. In non-Equity houses, no assumptions can be made about # of workdays or work hours.</p>

<p>MucThCC, you would be surprised. I know someone who worked one summer for an equity summer stock theater as an EMC, and this theater (and I am not exaggerating here) worked those kids seven days a week, 16 hours a day, with one (yes, that is not a misprint -- ONE) day off the entire summer, from the third week of May to the third week in August. They did everything from performing (which is what they came there for), to painting, mowing the lawns, scrubbing toilets, working in the box office, answering phones, stage managing, costuming, scenery work to picking cigarette butts up off the parking lot. That contract said the basic "I agree to work for the XXX theater performing duties as discussed."</p>

<p>Per MusThCC EQUITY houses are completely covered by Equity contracts; EMC houses are horses of another color, from rehearsal, to hours worked, to cleaning and all the "extra" things required.</p>

<p>I think NMR was referring to Equity theaters that employ both Equity and non-Equity actors. For example, my D did summer stock at an Equity theater but as a non-Equity actor, though some of the actors were Equity. The non-Equity actors are not covered by the Equity contracts (my D is now Equity and so I am familiar with Equity contracts) even if it is an Equity theater.</p>

<p>To clarify I was speaking of Equity contracts at Equity houses. As my daughter is also equity I am fully aware that non-equity contracts are not covered by equity rules. Any non-eq performer is subject to "extra" duties to be certain, but to my knowledge the BIG Equity houses {PCLO, MUNY, SAC] do not ask non-eq kids to do "grunt" work.</p>

<p>vksmom - This is where talking with the upperclassmen who have worked these theatres can really helpful. My D already has notes on some of these issues that she has gotten from "those who have gone before." She has a spreadsheet of the SETC theatres that she is keeping notes on and will use if she is fortunate enough to get multiple offers.</p>

<p>This is a great thread. The horror stories of summer stock are too numerous for words. Believe me when I tell you, some of these places really need to be shut down. That having been said, the faculty should help the student with summer contracts. Many, if not most, theatres include non-performing work for the "Interns" or any non-AEA contract. This can range from the reasonable day or two in the shops and help at load-in all the way to parking cars and cleaning bathrooms. Knowing what that work is, and what your schedule is likely to be, is important. Quite a lot is learned at these summer gigs. And time in the shops is really valuable as an artist. Time cleaning bathrooms - not so much.</p>

<p>kjgc, your mention of cleaning bathrooms reminds me of a funny story my in-laws told me, back when my D was in college. My in-laws have been auditing college courses every semester from as long as I can remember as senior citizens at a private college known for its strong theater (BA) program. On the first day of a theater course (not a performance one) they were taking, along with the college kids, everyone had to introduce themselves. One of the students had worked with and befriended my D the previous summer at an Equity theater where they worked as non-Equity actors. He recognized my in-laws' last name and my D likely told him that her grandparents audit courses at his college. So, when it was his turn to introduce himself, he said, "I scrubbed toilets with their (my in-laws) granddaughter this past summer!" :D</p>

<p>kjgc - It's good to know that the students can look to the faculty for guidance as well. Does this mean you would like my D to spend even MORE time in your office bothering you :eek: (PS I am very much looking forward to meeting you next week!)</p>

<p>Your daughter is always welcome in my office. Please stop by next week. I look forward to it.</p>

<p>soozievt said what I was trying to say, only better. Yes, there are equity houses that hire non-equity performers (a lot of them, college-aged students) who then earn EMC status and points, but who work A LOT of hours doing a lot of things that have absolutely nothing to do with performing. ttmom is correct, the <em>the</em> big summer stock equity houses like PCLO and MUNY, don't do this, but the majority of college-aged kids trying to get summer work probably are not going to get jobs at SAC, PCLO or MUNY, so it is smart to be aware of the range of conditions and expectations and not to assume (because you would be wrong) that an Eq house that hires non-eq performers abides by AEA rules for those non-eq people. On the flipside, I know of young performers who have done summer stock at non-eq outfits where they were treated beautifully and respectfully. So having an Equity license (or whatever it is called) is no guarantee that conditions will be good for the non equity member.</p>

<p>austinmtmom, here's to your daughter getting multiple offers! That would be wonderful and fortunate indeed. :) Please let us know how it all pans out.</p>

<p>Thanks NMR! She will be thrilled with ONE offer! Come on March - we're ready for you!!</p>

<p>I will say that summer stock is not the only summer job. One summer when DD was still in high school she was asked if she was interested in a part at a well known Summer Stock theatre froma director she ahd worked with a couple of times locally. However, in the end she took a role as a theme park performer locally where she did not have to pay for food or transportation and made considerably more weekly than the summer stock position. Although money was not the only factor - she was under 18 which created housing issues - it was the right decision for her. AND what we learned/remembered while she was doing the theme park was that she had terrible summer allergies when outside for hours all day (which she would have been at the summer stock also) and her voice really suffered.</p>

<p>@austinmtmom...I'm so glad your D has gone through this "summer stock" stuff before.. she can help navigate my D through the ins and outs, good and bad, just in case she, too, gets some offers :) </p>

<p> glad to hear that the faculty will help out and look over any offers the kids may get. This is all new territory for my D and I know she (as we) would appreciate any help weeding out the places she may not want to spend the summer. Thank you all at CCU for helping make this a wonderful freshman year...hopefully, too, we can meet you next week at MM.</p>

<p>keepingcalm, my D did summer stock the summer after freshmen year (she actually was only 17, but the theater did not realize it and she was housed with the out of town Equity actors). After that summer, my D chose to never do summer stock again. She chose other work in her field every summer in NYC and preferred that. Summer stock is a good experience but not the only option for college theater kids in summer.</p>