I’ll start this post with a story. The day that the post about the ad favoring Union Actors over Non-Union Actors got posted I had an audition. It was at night in an unfamiliar neighborhood so my boyfriend actually went with me because he was worried about me getting home safe. After the audition, we were walking back to the bus stop and I started talking about the article. In his innocence, my boyfriend took the mainstream audience point of view. Believing that union was better.
Hearing those things hurt. As a non-union actress things are hard enough. I didn’t need someone I loved making me feel that my work wasn’t good enough. Being told I wasn’t right by multiple professional companies was doing that already. I didn’t let it ruin the rest of the night though. I realized that as wonderful and supportive as he is he’s also innocent. As someone who’s just starting to really appreciate Theater and musical theater because of me, there’s so much that he doesn’t know. About auditions, the union, how hard it is to even get cast etc.... All he knows is the audience perspective. Seeing the recitals, the performances. The rest of it was up to me.
The next day I explained to him about the issue. How to even get into a union you have to either get noticed or work with them before you join. How favoring Union actors makes it even harder for non-union actors like me. He didn’t know about any of that.
My point is that as members of the Theater Community we have a chance to educate others. Most likely we all have people in our lives who don’t understand about some aspects of our art. Each of us has the opportunity to help those people to understand the Theater better.
Talk to the people in your life about things like the Union, the audition process, headshots. They deserve more than just listening to musicals and watching you perform. Communication is the key here. We can’t just expect our loved ones to understand certain aspects of the Theater. Sometimes we need to help them understand.