Author Topic: Unions and Circus/Cirque  (Read 5957 times)

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boolabella

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Unions and Circus/Cirque
« on: Apr 02, 2013, 12:50 pm »
Hi,

I know this is an old thread but I am curious if about cirque.  I've seen many AEA Stage Managers who have worked for Cirque and I'm wondering how they're able to do that.  I've heard that cirque gives full benefits and I'd like to apply.  Does anyone have any recent insight on AEA and resident Cirque shows?  How do people make it work? 

Thanks!!
« Last Edit: Apr 02, 2013, 10:36 pm by PSMKay »
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babens

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Re: Unions and Circus/Cirque
« Reply #1 on: Apr 02, 2013, 06:06 pm »
Here's what is on the AEA website concerning Cirque shows.

"Alert: Cirque du Soleil's shows (with the exception of BANANA SHPEEL, IRIS and ZARKANA) are non-union productions
Producer: Cirque du Soleil, MSG Entertainment and BASE Entertainment

AEA, SAG-AFTRA, AGMA, and AGVA members are advised that there is NOT a union contract in place for these productions, except for BANANA SHPEEL, IRIS and ZARKANA. Members of Actors' Equity as well as other entertainment Unions may NOT accept employment in these productions without an appropriate union contract.

Equity Franchised Agents are reminded that it is a violation of the Agency Regulations to submit Equity members for non-union work.

If you are approached about employment on these productions, please contact Flora Stamatiades, National Director, Organizing and Special Projects at 212.869.8530, or by email at flora@actorsequity.org."

MatthewShiner

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Re: Unions and Circus/Cirque
« Reply #2 on: Apr 02, 2013, 06:57 pm »
It should be noted, I believe, BANANA SHPEEL is dead, IRIS is closed and ZARKANA is relocated to a permanent show in Las Vegas, on their typical employment contract.

I find this interesting, when I first interviewed for Cirque in 1999, AEA had not official world on their members working for them - as they felt they didn't have jurisdiction on these shows.

Here are some honest questions.

I am an AEA Stage Manager.  AEA has jurisdiction over English Language Theater pieces.

Can I work non-union Dance?
Can I work non-union Opera?
Can I work a Spanish Language Play that AEA would not have jurisdiction on?
Could I *ACT* in a non-union film?

Thoughts?  Answers?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

Jessie_K

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Re: Unions and Circus/Cirque
« Reply #3 on: Apr 02, 2013, 08:45 pm »
When I left the USA to work on a circus show, I applied for (and was granted) a leave of absence from AEA and AGMA.  I don't know if you would be able to do a similar thing for a USA based circus show.

In terms of jobs that are different for circus than from theatre.

-We don't take extensive blocking notes- that's handled by Artistic Coordinator and Show Captains
-We do have lot more paperwork for risk assessments and validations for putting in new artists/acts.
-Unlike theatre- the show changes after opening- ALL THE TIME- this means lots of meetings, lots of rehearsals- keeps you on your toes
-We don't necessarily attend ALL sessions with the artists.  Sometimes the acrobats just need training (technique, etc) and the SMs don't attend all trainings.  We DO attend rehearsals.
-As there is HEAVY cast rotation and sometimes act rotation/changes every show- there is a lot more communication with the cast and crew to make sure each show happens safely and beautifully.

PSMKay

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Re: Unions and Circus/Cirque
« Reply #4 on: Apr 02, 2013, 09:21 pm »
Splitting this and sending to the Hardline since it's taken a very union-focused turn.

RuthNY

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Re: Unions and Circus/Cirque
« Reply #5 on: Apr 03, 2013, 08:44 am »
My understanding is this, for the three listed below, OTHER than the non-union film (I'm not touching that one...): If the appropriate union is not trying to organize the Dance Company, Opera Company, or Spanish Language Theatre, you are OK to work there. BUT you'll only know if the appropriate union wishes to organize there, if you get in touch with them, and ask. Therefore you cannot work in these types of performances without permission, as such.

(Vernon, can you add more to this?)

I speak only for myself, NOT for AEA, so, check with AEA before accepting ANY non-union employment!


<snip>

I am an AEA Stage Manager.  AEA has jurisdiction over English Language Theater pieces.

Can I work non-union Dance?
Can I work non-union Opera?
Can I work a Spanish Language Play that AEA would not have jurisdiction on?
Could I *ACT* in a non-union film?

Thoughts?  Answers?
"Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they're fair with you."
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MatthewShiner

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Re: Unions and Circus/Cirque
« Reply #6 on: Apr 03, 2013, 08:57 am »
RuthNY, that is my understanding as well . . . and yes, I threw the film in there to be a bit of a jerk.

So, the reason there is a not-work notice for Cirque is to assume that AEA wants to organize Cirque?

(And I don't have to loose sleep over my non-union Opera work I did after I got my card?)
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

VSM

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Re: Unions and Circus/Cirque
« Reply #7 on: Apr 04, 2013, 05:38 pm »
These questions and others oh-so-closely related have been under discussions for years.
I don't believe AEA has come up with a national unified opinion or way of dealing with the issues presented.
Our work continues... Our self-worth and esteem should prevail...
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MatthewShiner

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Re: Unions and Circus/Cirque
« Reply #8 on: Apr 04, 2013, 06:33 pm »
I do agree that there is no national wide consensus on these issues.  And the issues are changing over time.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

RuthNY

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Re: Unions and Circus/Cirque
« Reply #9 on: Apr 05, 2013, 09:26 am »
Here's what AEA says, on the website, as of 2013. 

http://actorsequity.org/NewsMedia/misc/ToWorkOrNotToWork.asp
« Last Edit: Apr 05, 2013, 12:45 pm by RuthNY »
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NomieRae

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Re: Unions and Circus/Cirque
« Reply #10 on: Apr 06, 2013, 01:19 pm »
For what it's worth - ZARKANA when it was here at Radio City was AGVA and almost all of the stage managers were AEA and AGVA.
(Also they will be returning to Radio City for awhile in 2013 - woo!)

In my career I have been plagued by the idea of taking non-union or other union work... the most confusing was when I accepted an AGVA show here in the city and called AEA about it to see if that was kosher. They just told me that I would have to join AGVA as well, but that I could still earn my health and pension through the Equity League. Also - AGVA doesn't have their own contracts and codes, they just directly reference AEA's. Confusion abounded - but I got AEA level pay, with my health and pension benefits through the League... it was almost exactly like working an AEA show.  (well, except that our business rep was much less helpful when it came to problems)

Will I still actively seek out AGVA contracts? Nah. (also, there are so few) but it was a good experience to learn about differing unions.
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