Equity calls for action on “pay to play” scams

In the USA there is a labour law referred to as the Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act which prevents the charging of actors for auditions even when those auditions are disguised as workshops. A number of casting studios and individuals have now been charged under this Act.

Actors have been noticing that a practice has developed in Ireland over the years whereby casting directors set up workshops/training academies and/or schools which performers, young and old pay to attend in the hope that the casting director concerned will call them for a part. We believe this is a conflict of interest that creates a situation whereby aspiring performers who pursue their dreams can ultimately be exploited for profit.

There are times when these academies/schools/workshops prey on the hopes and dreams of people that want to work in the performing arts industry. By and large actors are not people of means, they are people barely getting by, so paying in this way just to be considered for a job is very exploitative.

Given the developments in the USA, the Equity have written to the Labour Inspectorate to establish if these kind of actions in Ireland breach any guidelines, ethical or otherwise so tell us your experience on this here. We need to hear from you on issues like this.