There are 3 ways to join AEA. The Actor’s Equity Association was founded in 1913 and represents over 50,000 actors and stage managers in the theater industry. They work to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans.

Joining AEA – Actor’s Equity Association  

Equity Contract

You may join the Association by virtue of employment under an Equity contract. Applications for joining Equity are only valid during the term of the contract. Certain contract types also have a length-of-employment requirement before a membership application becomes valid; the Membership Department will advise you at the time of joining.

Four A’s Associated Actors and Artistes of America Affiliation

Membership is also available by virtue of prior membership in a performing arts sister union: SAG-AFTRA, AGMA, AGVA or GIAA.

Applicants must be members of a sister union for at least one year.
Must currently be members in good standing of their parent union.
Must have worked as a performer under the union’s jurisdiction on a principal or “under-five” contract or at least three days of extra (“background”) work.
With your application, you must include a written statement from your parent union stating that you meet the requirements above along with a least $400 towards your Initiation Fee.

Equity Membership Candidate (EMC) Program

This program permits actors and stage managers-in-training to credit theatrical work in an Equity theatre towards eventual membership in Equity. After securing a position at a participating theatre, you may register as a candidate. The $200 registration fee will be credited against any future Initiation Fee when you become eligible for membership. Eligibility under this program requires a minimum of 25 weeks of EMC work at participating theatres. If you complete 25 weeks you may register for Phase 2 of the EMC Program by paying an additional $200 within 6 months of completing Phase 1 to be able to work an additional 25 weeks. At any point during Phase 2 you may choose to join Equity as long as you do not have non-Equity work lined up in the future.

If you are joining Equity through the EMC Program, at least a $400 initial payment is due with your application.

Other Things You Need to Know

Guild and Unions for Actors and Performers

How to Find Auditions for Acting

How to Be a Movie Extra