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Equity is the UK trade union that represents performers and other artists working across the live and recorded entertainment industry and supports The Actors’ Guild of Great Britain.

As a leading industry organisation, Equity is known and respected nationally and internationally for the work we do with, and on behalf of, our members working across all areas of the entertainment industry.

Why should I join?

Having worked in a country where there’s no performers’ union I know what it is to be unprotected, unregulated and exploited. With Equity I have secure contracts, improving minimum rates, legal protection, advice and so much more. I’m an artist with a voice. That counts. Tim Walton

There are many reasons why people join Equity.  It might be because they have seen us in action helping colleagues in their workplace; or because they agree with one of our campaigns and want to get actively involved; or because they are being treated unfairly and realise that if they are part of Equity they don’t have to deal with it on their own; or because they want the reassurance of the insurance cover; or because they have an idea or issue they want  help with to take forward; or because they understand that by everyone coming together we are all made stronger – in fact every member has their own reason.

Here are our favourites:

  • Pay: Equity contracts set minimum rates of pay and standards to avoid exploitation.
  • Fair Treatment: from holiday entitlements to meal breaks and working hours, we have negotiated agreements to protect your working conditions.
  • Equal Treatment: Equity actively promotes equal opportunity without discrimination over gender, race, sexuality or disability.
  • Protection: Equity supports you if managements, employers, agents or bookers treat you unfairly.
  • Public Liability: Many members find our free public liability insurance (up to £10million) essential in their work as employers often insist they have PLI.
  • Pride: Equity membership signifies your pride in making our industry more rewarding and safer. Members make a stronger union.
  • Compensation: If injured or made ill through work then our legal services will seek proper compensation for you.
  • Influence: A major part of the entertainment industry, Equity contributes to public debate.  Our influence comes from the strength of our membership.
  • Pension: The only scheme into which employers in the industry will pay (on top of your fees) to help you be more financially comfortable when you retire.
  • Belonging: Your membership shows a commitment to your vocation.  Your Equity card is a sign of  your professionalism.
  • Contribute: Equity means better conditions for you and your colleagues.  Your views and ideas are heard and you can make a difference – so being in Equity means you can get more involved in how the industry operates


Equity membership brings with it a range of benefits including representation, advice, relevant services and other things of practical value that are aimed at supporting members throughout their career:

Pay and Conditions

  • Minimum terms and conditions across the entertainment industry and guidelines for work in areas where there are no representative bodies. Working under Equity terms is the best protection you can have. Members must discuss with us, before signing, contracts for any overseas work, including dance and cruises. We also advise members working on non-Equity contracts. Full texts of Equity contracts are available on this web site for Equity members.

Equity Card

  • Being a member makes a positive statement about your commitment to your vocation and your place in the industry. Your Equity card is a universally recognised symbol of your status as a professional.

Your Professional Name

  • We reserve this as long as it is not used by another member. Names are crucial for the distribution of royalties and other payments and credits and casting clarity.


  • We represent members individually or collectively in disputes with employers.

Help and Advice

  • We advise members and/or their agents whether it be about contracts and conditions for working in the UK or overseas or areas of the business that are new to you. Your local Equity branch can also be of help in some matters.


  • Successful national and international lobbying of employers, governments and other bodies on a wide range of issues that affect you and the industry.

Royalties and Other Payments

  • Each year Equity distributes hundreds of thousands of pounds in payments for use of members’ work in television and film re-runs, sales of DVDs, videos and audio recordings, e.g. cast albums.

Contract Enforcement

  • Where it is believed that there are outstanding royalties and/or residuals from productions made on Equity contracts, we investigate, recover and distribute these monies. We also monitor developments in intellectual property rights.

Legal Support

  • Free legal advice and support in disputes over professional engagements including contracts and personal injury claims. If we take on a case we pay the legal fees and the member receives the full amount of any award given by the court. To register a personal injury claim there is a 24hour free phone. We also provide assistance with personal legal matters such as wills, probate and conveyancing.

Bullying Reporting Line

  • If you are experiencing bullying at work, members can let us know by calling the reporting line.

Tax and Welfare Support

  • Free advice on National Insurance, tax, Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), welfare benefits and pensions. If necessary we take cases on behalf of members to tribunals. Equity Guides to tax, NI and JSA are available in print and online. We have a strong track record of success and run a helpline two days per week on Mondays and Thursdays.

Public Liability Insurance (PLI)

  • Full Equity members automatically have up to £10 million in PLI. For many members this is an essential protection for their working lives and this cover provides unbeatable value. (Please note stage hypnotist members can get PLI but have to contribute substantially to the premium). There is subsidised top-up cover available for Fire Artists which costs £31.50 per year. Equity Student members are covered for up to £2million in PLI. Equity members can print off a personalised Public Liability Insurance certificate from this web site.

Accident and Backstage Insurance

  • Equity members are automatically covered for accident and backstage insurance which operates overseas as well as in the UK if you are usually resident in the UK. It provides support if you are unable to work due to an accident and should not be confused with personal injury compensation (see Legal Support).There is also extra accident insurance for dancers which costs £10.50 per year.

Equity Members’ Personal Pension

  • The Equity Members’ Personal Pension Scheme is the only one into which theatre, radio and tv employers pay. You need to register (free) to take out an individual policy so you can give the number to employers.

Dance Passport

  • This provides Equity dancers and choreographers access to support and services from unions throughout Europe.

Job Information Service

  • The Equity Job Information Serv ice gives up-to-date, accurate information on real, paid work opportunities across the industry. You cannot access the service if your Equity subscriptions are not up-to-date. To use the service you must be logged into the website by following the link on the Members Log in page.

Digs List

  • This is held at head office and is in the Members’ Area of To add to the list please email the details to


  • The Equity Magazine is sent directly to all members and student members and has news, features and  articles.  Members also get other Equity  publications, isuch as the Review of the Year, Guides, Diary and standard contracts.

On line Directories

  • Members submit their details directly via their personal page within the  Members’ Area of the website and can also edit their entries. Other online directories such as Walk on and Supporting artists have been done in partnership with Spotlight and can be found at

Your Network

  • Equity is made up of thousands of creative people from every genre, age and many cultures. Our structures such as branches give you the opportunity to network and to share and benefit from members’ experience and support. You can also join in on the online forums or get involved with our Facebook , Twitter and other social networking groups Our highly experienced regional and national professional staff are also available to you for advice and support.

Careers Advice

  • Members and student members can use our one-to-one Careers and Learning Advice Service.

Workshops and Training

  • Equity has resources on CD roms which are free for members and student members (Arts Administration,  Marketing). We support the Actors’ Guild which provide programmes of short courses in professional development and we run workshops.  Members have helped develop workshop programmes in Wales and S.W England. There is training support for Equity Deputies and Equity Ambassadors, Equality Reps and members of committees and branches. We also have joint resources with sister unions and run training as part of this

Health and Safety

  • Equity monitors health and safety legislation, advises the Health and Safety Executive, financially supports the Healthier Dancer Programme and provides H & S guidelines and advice for members. Members should always call us if you have an accident at work and put the details in the venue’s Accident Book.

Medical Support (BAPAM)

  • Equity supports the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) which provides free advice and clinical assessment  for members and student members who need help with any performance related medical, psychological or dental problem, Members can also get discounts on the cost of BUPA.


  • The Equity Benevolent Fund (EBF) makes grants to members facing financial hardship and the Evelyn Norris Trust (ENT) provides support towards rest, recuperation and convalescence. Equity’s International Committee for Artists Freedom (ICAF) and the International Performers Aid Trust (IPAT) help performers and venues overseas. Members can also call on the Equity Charitable Trust for help. We are grateful to those members who leave bequests to our charities in their wills.


  • These are available to Equity members and Student Members on a wide range of goods and services.

Union Energy

  • The TUC has set up Union Energy to give union members a good deal on mains gas and electricity. The agreement is with Scottish Power.

Equity Credit Card

  • Offers competitive rates for members.

Industry Information Service

  • Agents and industry organisations subscribe to get regular updates about Equity Agreements, rates.

Follow this link to join as a full member, a student member or if you have previously been a member of Equity and would like to rejoin.





Contact Equity

Head Office London
Guild House
Upper St Martins Lane
Telephone: 020 7379 6000
Fax: 020 7379 7001

Tim Johnson
Office 1, Steeple House, Percy St, Coventry, CV1 3BY
Tel/Fax: 02476 553 612
Mobile: 07798 750 255

North East
Nigel Jones
The Workstation, 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX
Tel/Fax: 01142 759 746
Mobile: 07798 750 253

North West and Isle of Man
Jamie Briers, Andrew Whiteside and Mary Hooley
Express Networks, 1 George Leigh Street, Manchester, M4 5DL
Tel: 0161 244 5995   Fax: 0161 244 5971
Mobile: 07798 750 252

Scotland and N.Ireland
Lorne Boswell, Drew McFarlane & Marlene Curran
114 Union Street, Glasgow, G1 3QQ
Tel: 0141 248 2472   Fax: 0141 248 2473
Mobile: 07798 750 250 (Lorne Boswell), 07798 750 251 (Drew McFarlane)

South East England
John Ainslie
Guild House, Upper St Martins Lane
Telephone: 020 7670 0229
Fax: 020 7379 7001

Wales and South West England
Simon Curtis, Wayne Bebb and Mair James
Third floor, 1 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9SD
Tel: 029 2039 7971   Fax: 029 2023 0754
Mobile: 07798 750 254