|Affiliation||TUC, ICTU, STUC|
|Key people||Malcolm Sinclair (President)
Christine Payne (General Secretary)
|Office location||London, United Kingdom|
Equity (formerly known as the British Actors' Equity Association) is the trade union for actors, stage managers and models in the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1930 by a group of West End performers.
Equity was the last of the closed shop unions in the UK. This was criticised in 1981 and made illegal in 1988, with the result that it is no longer a requirement that a professional actor be a member of Equity.
Equity requires its members to have unique professional names.
Like many other British trade unions, Equity operated a closed shop policy - it was not possible for someone to join unless they had had sufficient paid work, and most jobs were reserved for Equity card holders. In order to allow new members to join, there were a limited number of non-card holding jobs on regional productions. Whilst working on these productions, actors held a provisional membership card, and, on completing the requisite number of weeks, could apply for full membership, and thereafter work in the West End, or on film and television.
In 1976, Equity introduced a policy of refusing to sell programming to the South African Broadcasting Corporation, an action that led to a virtual blackout of British television in apartheid South Africa.
As a result of the Conservative reforms of trade unions in the 1980s, and the introduction of European legislation, closed shop unions became illegal in the UK, and Equity discontinued this policy. However, in order to join, evidence must be provided of sufficient paid professional work.
- 1931 to 1939: David Henley
- 1939 to 1940: C. B. Purdom
- 1940 to 1946: Llewellyn Rees
- 1946 to 1958: Gordon Sandison
- 1958 to 1973: Gerald Croasdell
- 1973 to 1991: Peter Plouviez
- 1991 to 2005: Ian McGarry
- 2005 to present: Christine Payne
- 1932 to 1940: Godfrey Seymour Tearle
- 1940 to 1945: Lewis Thomas Casson
- 1946 to 1948: Beatrix Lehmann
- 1948 to 1949: Leslie Banks
- 1949 to 1969: Felix Aylmer
- 1969 to 1973: Ernest Clark
- 1973 to 1975: André Morell
- 1975 to 1978: Hugh Manning
- 1978 to 1982: John Barron
- 1982 to 1984: Hugh Manning
- 1984 to 1986: Derek Bond
- 1986 to 1992: Nigel Davenport
- 1992 to 1999: Jeffrey Wickham
- 1999 to 2002: Frederick Pyne
- 2002 to 2008: Harry Landis
- 2008 to 2010: Graham Hamilton
- 2010 to present: Malcolm Sinclair
See also 
- United States - Actors' Equity Association, the Screen Actors Guild, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
- Closed Shop at TalkTalk
- Barnett, Laura (15 September 2010). "Equity boss Malcolm Sinclair answers your questions". The Guardian (London).
- Nerve Articles - Issue 2
- More union trouble for Hurley
- "Your professional name". Equity. Retrieved 2011-05-24.
- Equity history - An overview of the work of Equity from 1930 to 2005.
- Equity official site.
- Free interchange of talent, NY Times, issue February 3, 1999
- Actors' Equity U.S. actors union Website