Drunk Shakespeare in DC joins Actors' Equity

Jun 26, 2023
Drunk Shakespeare in DC

Drunk Shakespeare United, the union representing the actors, stage managers, bartenders, and servers of the renowned Drunk Shakespeare production, has successfully formed its third company in Washington, DC. Following in the footsteps of their counterparts in Chicago and Phoenix, the DC company has chosen the Actors' Equity Association as their designated bargaining representative. While the workers in Phoenix and Washington, DC, anticipate certification by the NLRB based on their signed union commitment cards, they also express a desire for the voluntary recognition received by their colleagues in Chicago.

The unanimous decision to unionize in all three cities stems from the workers' shared objective to establish effective systems that uphold the show's exceptional quality while ensuring open lines of communication with management to promptly address any concerns. Kit Krull, an actor who has been an integral part of the DC production since its inception in July, emphasizes the camaraderie among the Drunk Shakespeare staff while acknowledging the need to confront certain structural challenges that have arisen over the past year. In solidarity with their peers in Chicago and Phoenix, the workers firmly believe that unionization offers the most viable path forward, facilitating the resolution of organizational issues and providing equitable treatment for the tremendous efforts they contribute to the company.

Reflecting on the swift voluntary recognition received by the Drunk Shakespeare Chicago company, Kate Shindle, President of the Actors' Equity Association, expresses optimism that the producer will extend the same level of respect to the individuals driving the productions in Phoenix and DC. The Equity eagerly anticipates engaging in negotiations to address shared concerns at the bargaining table, in addition to tackling unique issues that may arise in each production. By striving for fairer and safer workplaces throughout the country, the aim is to ensure that Drunk Shakespeare continues to flourish.

With five concurrent productions of the show running nationwide, including the recently unionized companies in Chicago, Phoenix, and Washington, DC, as well as those in Houston and New York, Drunk Shakespeare remains an influential presence in the live performance scene. The Equity encourages all individuals working in live performance who believe they would benefit from a union contract to reach out to the union's organizing department at actorsequity.org/organize. By uniting and advocating for their rights collectively, workers in the industry can foster better working conditions and secure a brighter future for themselves and their fellow performers.

To find out more about Drunk Shakespeare, go the Drunk Shakespeare in DC page.