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Equity rules

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This is my first time working as a professional DSM, and I was wondering if anyone could send me in the direction of equity rules regarding rehearsals I.e working hours, breaks etc. Im not a member of equity, and not sure if all the cast are, but I figured its a good place to work from!



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Here's the technical schedule for the in theatre rehearsal period showing when the cast and crew are doing things - it might help. At the rehearsal venue, we ran three hour blocks, starting at ten, through to one, then a break starting again at two, normally finishing at 5. Breaks were pretty well as and when - depending on the scenes being rehearsed, so people had plenty of break time - but had to be around. Once moving into the theatre, it was more of a jigsaw, as follows. Many of the cast were Equity members, but not all.





2008 / 2009- PANTO





0900A.M Get In And Fit Up 8 4

13.00P.M Break

1400A.M. Continue Fit Up (Sound Get In) 8 4

1800P.M. Break

1900P.M. Continue Get In 8 4

2200P.M. Finish




0900A.M. Continue Fit Up 8 4

1300P.M. Break

1400P.M. Continue Fit Up / L.X. Focus 8 4

1800P.M. Technical Break

1900P.M. Continue Fit Up /LX Focus 8 4

2200P.M Finish Onstage






0900A.M. Lighting / Crew Jobs 6 4

1000A.M Band Call 1 (Full Orchestra) Venue TBC

1100A.M. Rehearsals onstage (MD only) 6 4

1300P.M. Break

14.00P.M Band Call 2 (Full Orchestra) Venue TBC

1400P.M Rehearsals onstage (MD only) 6 4

17.00PM Orchestra Break

1800P.M Rehearsals Finish Onstage

18.00PM Orchestra Seating And Sound Check (Full Orchestra)

19.00PM Crew Jobs 6 4

21.00PM Orchestra Seating / Sound Check Finish

2100P.M Lx Plotting as Required

2200PM Continue LX Plotting *4 *2

TBC Finish Onstage


(*These personnel need to be different from those doing the next 0900A.M call)


PANTO 2008 -2009



0900A.M Lighting / Crew Jobs 4 2

1100A.M Rehearse Onstage 4 2

(MD/ Percussion/Drums)

1300P.M Break

1400P.M Act I Technical Rehearsal SHOW PERSONNEL

(MD/ Percussion / Drums)

1700P.M Break

1800P.M Act 1 Technical Rehearsal SHOW PERSONNEL

(MD / Percussion /Drums)

2100P.M Rehearsals Finish

2100P.M Lighting As Required *4 *2

(*These personnel need to be different to those who do the next day’s 0900A.M call)

2300P.M Finish Onstage




0900A.M. Preset for Tech Rehearsal 4 2

1000A.M. Act 1/2 Technical Rehearsal SHOW PERSONNEL

(MD/Percussion /Drums)

1300P.M. Break

1400P.M. Act 2 Technical Rehearsal SHOW PERSONNEL

(MD / Percussion/ Drums)

1700P.M Break

1900P.M. Technical Dress Rehearsal SHOW PERSONNEL

(Full Orchestra)

2200P.M. Finish



0900A.M. Work as required T.B.A.

1230P.M. Break

1400P.M. Full Dress Rehearsal SHOW PERSONNEL

(Full Orchestra)

1700P.M Break


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As DSM this is not really your problem as the SM should be keeping an eye on hours but it would be useful for you to know so first find out if you are actually on Equity contracts as if no one is a member you may not be, then ask the Production Company or Equity for a copy of the rules so that you can ensure they do not end up paying overtime, missed meal breaks etc.


Don't forget 15mins in and out of costume either side of meal breaks so that your meal breaks on Tec and Dress days will end up being 1.5 hours.

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  • 1 month later...

Rules vary depending on the size, scale and type of production. Also subject to interpretation, even within the same department so always double check them!!

Actual hours and breaks should be the responsibility of the Company Manager / Stage Manager again depending on the size and scale of the production.

Cast hours and some crew positions will be covered by Equity but only if you are working an equity contract. (Irrespective of whether members of the cast are Equity or not!!)

Crew will either be Equity or Bectu covered and Musicians are covered, (extremely strictly) by the Musicians Union. Never assume that one unions rules will be the same as anothers!

Over and above that the terms of the contract will cover normal and maximum hours and the European Worktime Directive applies in all cases within the EU. Overseas contracts have a separate addendum covering them.


PHEW!!!! Its a bloody minefield mate!


Best thing to do is speak to somebody at Equity. Certainly within the UK they are more than happy to help if they think it will benefit their members even if you aren't on an Equity contract. 0207 379 6000.


Just remember to always double check, and however nice the rules are if you have signed a non Equity contract then it is down to contractual obligations, Normal practice, EU Regs and goodwill.


Good luck!

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If the management you are working for issues standard equity contracts to performers and stage management, then at some point a rep from the union should visit to check up that all is OK and answer any questions. In my experience (admittedly a while ago now) this only really happened in London.


I disagree slightlywith my esteemed colleague W/Robe....I think the DSM is responsible for timekeeping in rehearsal sessions:


so regarding breaks, the important thing I remember from my DSM days is the tea break must be no more than 3 hours into the session.....so if your rehearsal is 9.00am to 1.00pm, the tea / coffee break has to start at or before 11.45am. the maximum length of session is 4 hours, and in tech rehearsal this should include time in and out of costume, which theoretically gives stage management setting up time and a proper break.......


(this was under the TMA/Sub Rep/Equity agreement - there may be variations in other agreements like the ITC/Equity, ballet, opera etc as others have said.)

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