While millions of Americans lost their jobs or a portion of their work, there were entire industries put on hold. One of these was the stage industry, including directors, choreographers, actors and more.
Laura Penn, Executive Director of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to introduce the audience to the union, explain their role in the labor movement and explain what their members do on a day to day basis.
What is the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society?
Penn said the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society is a newer union in the stage industry. However, they have worked quickly to organize members, even organizing workers in the United Kingdom.
She explained how they work like all other unions, organizing healthcare, fighting for quality wages and a handful of other benefits. They also represent freelance workers as well as newer positions in the industry, such as fight choreographers and more.
It came fairly easy to organize for this union. Many of the younger people in the industry have searched for a group to organize with, as they look for solidarity and community.
Stage work during the pandemic
Penn said the pandemic has been extremely tough for stage workers and those the union represents. As theaters closed their doors until it was deemed safe, their members scrambled to devise a solution to their problem and continue working.
These workers quickly moved to find ways to capture and preserve all of their work electronically. Additionally, they tried finding ways to continue working, even organizing Zoom readings and other online work.
As states begin to loosen restrictions, Penn hopes their members can get back to work too. Much of the industry is organized and these people need to get back to work so they can support their families.