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Equity announces first female President since 1946

Actress Maureen Beattie has been announced as the new President of Equity. She is the union’s second female President and the first since Beatrix Lehmann in 1946. She will officially take over from Malcolm Sinclair in July.

She has stood unopposed in the union’s upcoming elections for President and Council (the union’s ruling body) and will therefore be ‘President Elect’ until she chairs the newly-formed Equity Council at their first meeting on 17 July

Maureen Beattie, actress, director and Equity’s President Elect, said: “I am incredibly proud to have the opportunity to be President of this union and to represent our membership in all its diverse glory. We are the largest entertainment trade union in the UK and our agreements are currently underpinning best practice in theatre, TV, radio, film and all across the creative sector. I want the union to shout from the rooftops about the great work we do, and engage much more with our members. Together we can create an industry which is 100% inclusive, an industry where no matter your individual characteristics or your caring responsibilities you have as good a chance of landing that job – whatever it may be – as anyone else. That's the dream. The time has come for the employers and engagers in our industry to acknowledge and honour the connection between the £92bn brought into the UK last year by the creative economy and the people whose work brings in such riches."

Malcolm Sinclair, actor and current Equity President, said: “Maureen is a fantastic campaigner and a passionate advocate for those of us working in the entertainment industry. It is such an insecure profession and there are so many challenges facing our members in making a career, Maureen understands this and I am convinced she will make Equity an even stronger union. I look forward to supporting her from the wings.”

Christine Payne, Equity’s General Secretary, said: “I am really excited to be working with Maureen. It is clearly the time for a woman to be President again. There is still an election being held over seats for the Council and other committees so I would urge members to remember to use their vote.”

Ballot paper and statements for Council and the Appeals and Standing Orders Committee will be dispatched on Wednesday 6 June and the ballot closes at 12 noon on Wednesday 4 July. Voting is by post only.

Photography by Phil Adams