The 29-Hour Reading (also known as the Stage Reading Guidelines) is an internal membership rule. It allows members of Equity to rehearse and/or perform without a contract (which we're typically not allowed to do) in certain situations where a reading is being rehearsed or presented.
Now, most of our internal membership rules that allow us to work without a contract (better known as "Codes") have fences built around them. Those limitations seek to ensure our members won't work without a contract with a producer who could reasonably afford one. The New York City Showcase Code, for instance, forbids participation without a contract in any project produced by a for-profit entity, or by a non-profit with a certain level of annual funding, or in a production with a budget that exceeds a certain threshold.
For some reason, however, the 29-Hour Reading includes no such fences.
For-profit producers use the 29-Hour Reading to perfect their materials before moving them onto a developmental contract. Non-profit producers with budgets of tens of millions of dollars use the 29-Hour Reading to hear plays that they might produce on contract at a later date. Many of these producers are members of collective bargaining units that have agreements with Equity to employ our members on contracts - contracts that include fair wages, health and pension contributions, and safe work conditions - and yet they're getting endless workweeks from our members without any pay or benefits because the 29-Hour Reading allows them to do it.
This makes no sense, and it has to change.
The 29-Hour Reading should not exist as a means to give our largest employers the ability to use Equity members without a contract. I'll continue the work that has already begun to end this ridiculous practice.
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