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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Kate Shindle’s Reasons for Resigning as Actors’ Equity President

Kate Shindle, who has led the Actors’ Equity Association as president for nine years, is stepping down from her position, marked by the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, which brought the theater industry to a standstill.

At 47, Shindle plans to remain active in the labor movement but expresses her eagerness to return to acting, a profession she has been unable to fully pursue during her tenure due to the demands of leading the union. Serving as president of Equity, which represents over 51,000 theater actors and stage managers across the country, is an unpaid, volunteer role. Despite her dedication, Shindle has been unable to accrue enough acting work to qualify for health insurance through the union.

Shindle’s departure coincides with a period of significant turnover in the theater industry. Notably, Charlotte St. Martin recently stepped down as president of the Broadway League, the primary trade association often in negotiation with Equity. Additionally, several heads of nonprofit theaters are also transitioning out of their roles.

Reflecting on her time as president, Shindle acknowledges the myriad challenges faced by the industry, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. She emphasizes the uncertainty surrounding the virus and its impact on live performances, highlighting the need to prioritize the safety of all members, including those who may be more vulnerable due to age or health conditions.

Beyond the pandemic, Shindle underscores the importance of addressing systemic issues within the industry, including discrimination, racism, and harassment. She stresses the need for Equity to advocate for a more inclusive and equitable environment for all its members.

Looking ahead, Shindle expresses optimism about the industry’s recovery but acknowledges the ongoing challenges. She emphasizes the importance of addressing mental health concerns among performers and advocating for living wages for artists. Additionally, she discusses the union’s approach to navigating complex geopolitical issues, such as the Israel-Hamas conflict, acknowledging the diverse perspectives among members while striving to uphold Equity’s values.

Despite her tenure as president, Shindle remains committed to her passion for acting. She expresses a desire to refocus on her own career, longing to return to the rehearsal room and perform once again.

Kate Shindle’s departure from Actors’ Equity Association marks the end of a transformative era for the union, characterized by unprecedented challenges and a steadfast commitment to advancing the interests of its members. As she transitions into a new chapter, Shindle leaves behind a legacy of advocacy and leadership, shaping the future of the theater industry for years to come.

David Faber
David Faber
I am a Business Journalist of The National Era
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