Author Topic: Season Contract?  (Read 1419 times)

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Bendiebec

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Season Contract?
« on: Sep 12, 2012, 06:27 pm »
I recently signed a contract with a non-equity theatre company that covers my employment as stage manager for the three shows their season contains. It is part time (evening rehearsals, etc). I regret signing the contract for all three shows instead of show-by-show, because the more I've been involved in this first production, the more I realize this is not a good company. I don't mean they're bad, but they are not professional, they pay their actors next to nothing, and have very amateur methods of doing things. They even have little confidence in themselves as a company (ie, they considered moving opening night one day later because they don't think they'll have enough audience to fill that other show!!).
I am obviously committed to this first show, and the director they hired is great. But, thoughts? Is there any way I can get untied from this mess?

babens

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Re: Season Contract?
« Reply #1 on: Sep 12, 2012, 07:45 pm »
I guess the first question is whether they included an out clause in the contract that outlines the expectations for giving notice?  Mainly, have they said a specific time frame (two weeks, four weeks, etc) and are there any blackout dates (i.e. not within seven days of the first public performance, etc).

I'm hesitant to give any actual legal advice here (not being a lawyer after all), but I did have my brother (who is a lawyer) look over a contract I once had to break.  In that case there was no out clause outlined in the contract, so his advice was that a standard two week notice was sufficient and the company could not challenge that, which they had initially threatened to do when I gave the notice (which was three weeks before rehearsals were scheduled to start).  Again, this is just anecdotal and if you are truly concerned I would suggest consulting a lawyer in your area, as laws can differ from state to state (my situation was in Ohio, for the record).

BayAreaSM

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Re: Season Contract?
« Reply #2 on: Sep 15, 2012, 02:16 pm »
Babens offers good advice - but if you don't have access to a lawyer, read your contract thoroughly, and ask a friend to read it as well, to make sure you both have a basic understanding of it. Odds are, given enough notice (preferably in advance of when rehearsals start for the 2nd show), they should understand.

There is another topic that covers breaking a contract and offers some advice, though it is geared for breaking from a company because you got a better offer elsewhere:
http://smnetwork.org/forum/employment/to-break-or-not-to-break/



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