Onstage > Employment

Needing a cover for 2 shows


I just found out that my sister's graduation is on a two show day for a contact I am already on. We are a couple of months out from the show dates. I have never had to find a cover for shows and I want to ask the producers if I can hire a cover for the two shows. Have any of you done that before? How did you go about that? I was thinking about proposing that I would find and hire a replacement, have them shadow one or two shows and then run one or two shows with me watching before having them take over for two shows. I would also propose that I would directly pay the person out of my paycheck for that week so the producers don;t have to do anything.

Is this a union show? What contract are you on? And how many shows a week?

Of course, let your producers know well in advance. Also, if possible, make sure that person gets to watch the show from the house at least once, and if possible as well, that they meet the cast ahead of time.

Normally, the sub observes once, then is observed once before taking it over for those few days, but that may depend on how complex the show is technically, and how well the sub picks up.

For your, there are a few options: In an ideal world, you are on an AEA contract that has formal sub SM language which (if I remember correctly) requires that person being hired for a minimum of a week and may include a health allotment. For your employers, it would mean one additional check in that week.

Other people choose the option you mention, to simply be paid directly as a sub ? which would be full amount for however many days, but before taxes are taken out. That person will be working at least 4 and possibly more days, depending on show specifics, cast size etc.

You might start by reaching out to SMs you know and trust in your area. Some will only work under contract, and some will prefer covering without the formality. But either way, it will give you a head start before broaching the topic to your producers.

I have the same issue! Fortunately, my production manager was very easy to talk to about it and helped me find my replacement (my brother is getting married). Having open communication is key. I knew when I signed the contract that I was going to miss a Sunday matinee for the wedding. So its written into the paperwork that I signed.

I am not on an Equity contract, its a small theatre here in Cleveland that I am doing the show at and my replacement is someone who has stage managed at this venue before.

I am going to pay her out of my pocket.

My suggestion is to have a person in mind when you talk to your producers. Knowing that you trust this person, will only help!

From a non-AEA perspective...

Let the company know as early as possible. In the past I've seen my company most commonly pull from staff they already have to fill those kinds of gaps. Often an Artistic Assistant or Assistant Production Manager may be available to fill in when needed. If there is another SM they commonly work with they may pull them in. I think we work in-house mostly to keep from having to process more new hire paperwork for a very temporary job.

Have a few names in the back of your head, in case your producers ask, but I would let them lead the search if they feel so inclined.

You might also find out that the theater is willing to pay or provide the sub themselves....not always the case, but it does happen. As has been mentioned, they may have someone they prefer to call in, but it never hurts to have a name in your back pocket of someone you know is available.


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