Non-Equity Audition Basics

"Crashing" an Equity Call


As a non-union member or EMC actor, below are the

following rules and procedures for attending an Equity Call.


EPA’s - All actors regardless of status must wait in the same self monitored line. There are 5 lists that the Equity monitor will have on their desk:

  • Equity Member time slots.

  • Equity Member Alternate list A

  • Equity Member Alternate list B

  • EMC Member list

  • Non-Union Member list


All Equity members on the lists will be seen before any EMC and non-union members are seen.


All EMC members are seen before any non-union members are seen.


Every audition turn out is different but as you make your way through auditions you will begin to learn which auditions will most likely be too busy for even a chance to be seen vs. others that will see non-union with in the first hour because of low turn out.


Most new Broadway shows are packed with Equity members wanting to be seen.


Regional Plays usually have the lowest turn out and are usually willing to see non-union members.


There is no exact answer as to when and by whom you will be seen but know that most theatres and shows are happy to see non-union members if they have the time.



Chorus Calls – EMC and Non-Union Members are of the same status at a chorus call.


An Official non-union list will be provided by the Equity monitor for you to sign up on. Many non-union members will arrive several hours before an audition to start an unofficial line/list. Please know that the Equity monitor cannot honor the list but is usually open to allowing a non-union member to transfer the unofficial list onto the official one. If they do not allow this, then whatever non-union members are there have to scramble to make a line and sign up on the official list.


Once you are signed up on the Official list it is recommended that you leave the holding room and check back in 5 min. after the call start time. This is when the monitor will usually know whether or not non-union members will be seen at the call (time permitting after all union members are seen). *Please note, the audition is being held specifically for union members so out of respect for your fellow actors, it is greatly appreciated that you clear the room so that the union members have space to warm-up for their audition. Also know that if they are going to see non-union, there will be plenty of time for you to warm-up in the holding room once equity members have begun auditioning and left.


If the call is closed at the start time to Union members, then no non-union members are allowed to be seen.


Some casting/producers/directors will be willing to accept headshot/resumes even if they don’t have time to see you. Always ask the monitor if they are accepting them, they will collect them at the desk.


Remember everyone started out as a non-member of the Actor’s Equity Union and had to work their way up just like you. Keep showing up and doing what you love. Your talent will be seen and appreciated!!



Equity Membership Candidate Program


The Equity Membership Candidate Program (EMC) permits actors and stage managers in training to credit theatrical work in certain Equity theatres towards eventual membership in Equity. Candidates must complete 50 creditable weeks of work at any of the participating theatres. The weeks do not have to be consecutive, and may be accumulated over any length of time.

Members of any performing arts sister union (SAG-AFTRA, AGMA, AGVA, GIAA) would normally be required to sign an Equity contract when working in Equity’s jurisdiction. However, you may request a waiver of your professional status in order to train for the theatre. This allows you to work as an EMC for 25 weeks. If you join another sister union after registering for the EMC program, you may choose to join Equity after 25 weeks, or you may continue to work the full 50 weeks as a Member Candidate.


To register for the program, you must first secure a qualifying position at an Equity theatre that offers the Membership Candidate program*. Complete the EMC Registration Form supplied by the theatre and return it to them with the non-refundable $100 registration fee, payable to Actors’ Equity Association. Members of any performing arts sister union (see above) must complete the Modified EMC Program section of the registration form, and also include a professional resume.


You must complete the EMC Registration Form each time you accrue weeks with a participating theatre. EMC weeks are submitted by the Theatre and tracked by Equity. Once you have accrued enough weeks to complete the program (see above), you will be notified by Equity. Be aware that there are limitations as to the types of work that can be credited under provisions of various Equity contracts.


Upon completion of the program, your eligibility to join Equity lasts for five years. During that time, if you are engaged to work at an Equity theatre, you must be signed to an Equity contract. If you do NOT choose to join within the five-year period, your accumulated weeks of credit will expire, your registration fee will be forfeited, and you will not receive the credit toward a future initiation fee.

When you wish to join Equity, you must complete a membership application and pay the required minimum of the initiation fee. Your $100 EMC registration fee will be credited against your initiation fee (except as noted above). Once you join Equity, you will also be subject to basic dues and work dues. Call us or visit for current rates.


  • It is your responsibility to keep your contact information current with Equity’s Membership Department.

  • Although your EMC weeks are tracked by Equity, we encourage candidates to maintain their own work week records. Producers may not submit weeks correctly or in a timely manner.

  • Equity policy does not permit the duplication of names among its members. Be aware that the name you use as a Membership Candidate may not be available when you become eligible to join Equity.

  • The list of theatres participating in the EMC program can be found in our Document Library at

  • There are no established salaries for Membership Candidates except those agreed upon by you and the producer who employs you.

  • The EMC Program is only available to non-resident aliens that have a valid Employment Authorization Card.

  • The EMC exam was discontinued by Equity’s Council on November 20, 2001. Permission to take the exam may be granted to individuals who joined the EMC program prior to February 15, 2003 and have accumulated at least 40 weeks. Requests must be made in writing to the EMC department at the nearest Equity regional office.

  • EMC policies and procedures are subject to change. Please check Equity’s website for updates. Please contact the nearest Equity office with questions or concerns regarding the EMC Program.


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