An inquiry into performers’ audition experiences is being launched following reports of “objectifying casting breakdowns” and “inappropriate” personal questions.
Equity, which is to launch the inquiry, will also set up a dedicated helpline or web-form for the reporting of audition or interview experiences and will campaign to make members aware of their rights.
A motion proposed by Equity’s Women’s Committee at the union’s Annual Representative Conference 2019 said: “We recognise that auditions and interviews – where one is not yet employed and therefore the duty of care becomes vague – can be one of the most vulnerable and exploited aspects of our members’ working lives.
“Although the mental and physical safety of our members ought to be protected in line with UK health and safety law, many members – especially women and under-represented groups – suffer belittling, discriminatory and physically harmful treatment as part of the audition/interviewing process.
“This includes everything from objectifying casting breakdowns, to requests to improvise fights and sex scenes, to unsafe or inaccessible casting facilities, to inappropriate personal questions and feedback during the interview itself.”
Members at the ARC voted unanimously to approve the motion, which will also see the union develop focused advice for members around castings.
Fight director Philip Stafford, representing the directors’ and designers’ committee, supported the motion, arguing that it will benefit the union’s wider membership.
He told the conference that somebody he had worked with had once been “required to take a full-contact slap round the head” during the audition process, resulting in a perforated ear drum, while “someone else came to [him] with bruises all down one side of their body”.
For more coverage of the Equity Annual Representative Conference 2019, click here.