What Equity offers stage directors and designers

Why theatre directors and designers should join Equity

What Equity can offer you as a stage director or designer, from advice and support to representation and the chance to improve the industry for all.

Advice, support and representation

Nobody knows the agreements you’re working on like the organisation that negotiates them.

When you’re working on the West End, for a subsidised theatre or a commercial producer your contract is underpinned by a collective agreement negotiated between Equity and the Society of London Theatre, or Equity and UK Theatre.

You can find minimum rates for stage directors, set and costume designers, lighting designers and choreographers in the rates section of our website.

When you have questions about what these agreements mean and how they protect you and your work, Equity is your best source of advice and support. As a member of Equity, you can influence those agreements and be part of our work to drive improvements to your terms and conditions at work.

When you’re not working on a union agreement you can access sample contracts to support you in negotiations plus our specialist advice on your statutory rights, industry best practice and standards.

Our Directors and Designers Committee have also brought together advice specifically for you – from navigating directing and designing while pregnant to job descriptions for Set Designers, Costume Designers, stage directors and lighting designers to support you in negotiations over contracts.

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Improving standards for all directors and designers

Membership of Equity means that you can influence our lobbying and campaigning activity to drive up standards for stage directors, designers - and for all theatre workers.

Whether that’s as part of Equity’s Directors and Designers Committeelocal Equity branch, a specialist network, or by participating in the regular consultations we run over our industrial and campaigning work – your Equity membership is your voice in your union.

We are here for you when things go wrong

Our team of experienced and skilled staff all over the UK are on hand to step in where needed in disputes with your engagers, and to guide you – or your agent – when you need it. If needed, we also provide cradle-to-grave legal support through our relationship with trade union solicitors Pattinson & Brewer.

We are one of the only trade unions in the UK that provides specialist tax and social security advice. Whether it’s navigating universal credit, Access to Work or your tax return as a freelancer, our dedicated team are on hand to provide advice and representation – right up to tribunal level – on a range of social security and tax issues. 

A proud trade union

Trade union membership isn’t just about what’s in it for you – it’s about taking a stand in support of a movement that fights for a better deal for working people in our own industry, but also all across the economy and around the world.

Equity is proudly affiliated to the Trades Union Congress and so can access the solidarity and influence of our sister trade unions. Through the TUC we have won support from other trade unions for our campaigns over arts funding, housing rights, better representation and inclusion in our workplaces and support for self-employed people in the pandemic, and much more besides.

Your strength is in solidarity with your fellow theatre workers both here in the UK and overseas. Working with our sister unions around the world and through our affiliation to Amnesty International, Justice for Colombia and other solidarity groups, Equity has fought for artists in South Africa, in Israel and Palestine, Belarus, Chile, Ukraine, Myanmar – all over the world.

Your membership of Equity makes this work possible.

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Membership benefits

Find out about all the benefits you get as an Equity member, from advice and free legal support to discounts and community.

Membership benefits

Membership fees and more

Find out about membership fees, who can join Equity and more.

Membership fees and more