Pay For Music Theatre Auditions?

Recently the MEAA (Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance) published an Equity E-bulletin to alert performers about issues arising in Musical Theatre auditions.

The Performers Collective Agreement (PCA) requires that Music Theatre auditionees receive payment at a casual rate if they are asked to return more than 3 times in 28 days. So this essentially means from the the 4th audition onwards, there should be money involved. 
Unfortunately there is nothing in the PCA to specify what is considered a single audition, and what is a call back. For instance; if you sing at 9 am and are then asked to return at 5:30 pm for a dance audition are you then still at the same audition or would this count as two?
It seems that the best resolution for this is simply common sense. I contacted equity in order to get more specific information but unfortunately the PCA does leave it quite vague. The response was to “… look at it in terms of what is reasonable and the context of what sort of audition you’re doing.”
I don’t think there are any performers out there that are seriously claiming they want to be paid for auditions, but the fact of that matter is that we do have lives to lead, rent to pay and are still relying on our “day jobs” to get us through between shows. If you find yourself having to get out of a shift at work every time you have a call back for a show, and that show is calling you in 6 – 8 times in a month in order to cast the show perfectly, then it is reasonable to expect compensation for the disruption in your life. A lot of people are quite happy to just go along with this, but in the end, if you are unlucky enough to miss out on the job, then you have no new income, and possibly are left in a financial hole because of the auditions.
I believe that fair is fair, and as long as performers are reasonable with their requests and do not try and take advantage of this, then hopefully producers will come to the party, also be reasonable, and understand that maybe remuneration is not too much to ask.
If you do have any further questions about this issue, or if you have had any sets of auditions recently that you believe fall into this category then you can contact Victoria Houston at [email protected]
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Matt Edwards

Matt is a past owner of AussieTheatre, working as digital director from 2011 to 2019. He is also a performer, most recently appeared in the Australian tour of Mamma Mia! and previously in the Australian/NZ tour of CATS and Enda Markey's acclaimed production of Blood Brothers. As well as performing Matt keeps himself busy in the digital side of the arts working with web design agency Emptyhead Digital

Matt Edwards

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