Your Equity name is crucial for the distribution of royalties and for casting clarity.
It's also your brand.
When deciding whether to keep your current name or change it to something new, make sure you:
1. Decide on one professional name you can use across the board
Check you can use your name for Equity, Spotlight and any other organisations or unions, as well as on all professional documentation (such as CV, email address and website).
2. Check both Equity and Spotlight
Make sure you check if Spotlight already has members with your name, as well as Equity. Find out about Spotlight name's on the Spotlight website. We're unable to hold or reserve names for future use, or for artists whose membership expires. If your membership subscription runs out then a current or new subscriber may successfully apply to use same name in the meantime.
3. Check spellings and abbreviations
You should always double-check different spellings and abbreviations of a name, since neither Equity nor Spotlight will accept similar names, even if they are not identical. For example, we would not allow Sophie Smith if there is already a Sophia Smith, or Peter Jones if there is already a Pete Jones.
The following are also not sufficient to distinguish you from other artists:
- Adding initials, for example Ewan McGregor & Ewan K McGregor
- Adding middle names, for example Rachel Weisz & Rachel Jane Weisz
- Double barrelling first names, for example Keira Knightley & Keira-Jane Knightley
- Same names with different spellings, for example Judi Dench & Judy Dench
4. Check the industry as a whole
If your name can be easily confused with someone else who is working, or has worked, in the industry, we recommend that you change it. Even if they are not working in the same professional field.
For example, there is no point starting work as an actor called Sam Mendes, because you will always be confused with the other Sam Mendes.
You should also think in terms of a global market and avoid duplicating names with overseas performers who may not necessarily be members of Equity or Spotlight, such as Rachel McAdams or Terrence Howard.
You should also make sure you do not use the name of artists who are deceased. Choosing Laurence Olivier for example would not only cause confusion, but would also undermine your credibility.
Changing your Equity name
The fee for changing your Equity name is £33 for full, graduate, long service, child and retired members. It's £9 for student members (25% of full fee rounded up to the nearest £).