Class discrimination should be made unlawful and organisations must be forced to report class pay gaps to address inequality in the industry, Equity has said.
The union is backing a campaign from the Trades Union Congress which calls on the government to make discrimination on the basis of class unlawful, like it is for race, sex and disability.
It is also demanding that the government require employers to report their class pay gaps and introduce a legal duty for public bodies to make tackling all forms of inequality a priority.
Equity put forward a motion at the annual Trades Union Congress, which was passed unanimously, calling on the general council to campaign for such measures to help “close the privilege gap”.
Audio councillor David John, who put forward the motion, said: “We have seen [class inequality] as an issue for quite some time at Equity, as actors and drama students from a lower socio-economic background find it harder to study, enter the industry and to sustain a career.
“It’s much harder these days than it was when I studied and entered the profession in the 1970s when there was state support for talented children from whatever background and a benefit system that supported performers while trying to get work.”
John added: “Theatre is often accused of being too middle class and at times it is.
“The industry would only improve and reflect society more authentically if there were more working-class writers, directors, performers and stage management. This suggested law change by the TUC could make a big difference if implemented.”
Earlier this year, Equity set up a network to address working-class representation in the entertainment industry.