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The Truth About EPA's

Episode # 301

The truth about EPA’s

Air Date: March 7, 2024

Equity Principal Auditions (EPAs) are auditions organized by the Actors' Equity Association (AEA), the labor union representing actors and stage managers in the United States. These auditions are specifically for actors seeking principal roles in Equity productions, which are professional theater productions that adhere to certain labor standards and conditions set by the union. The question that needs to be answered is, “are they worth your time”. Welcome to Casting Actors Cast, the podcast and videos for actors from a casting professional.

Here are key points about Equity Principal Auditions:

·       Equity Membership Candidate (EMC): Actors who are not yet members of Equity but are working towards obtaining their membership can attend EPAs as Equity Membership Candidates (EMCs). EMCs accrue points for each professional workweek they perform in an Equity-affiliated production.

·       Principal Roles: EPAs are primarily for principal roles, which are significant characters in a production. These roles often have speaking or singing parts and are central to the storyline.

·       Equity Members: Equity members, those who have obtained full membership in the union, have the right to attend EPAs and audition for principal roles. These auditions provide a platform for actors to showcase their talent to casting directors and directors involved in professional theater.

·       Audition Process: The audition process typically involves actors preparing and presenting a monologue or song, depending on the requirements of the casting call. Actors may also be asked to read sides (portions of the script) provided by the casting team.

·       Casting Opportunities: EPAs offer actors the chance to be seen by casting directors and potentially land roles in professional theater productions. This can be a crucial step in an actor's career, especially when aiming to establish themselves in the industry.

The Bottom line: EPA’s are required for every Equity show being cast in New York City. Union requirements dictate that a certain number of actors be considered and seen for each role. They are not viewed as a realistic method to being cast although you will always hear about exceptions. It is not a way to “get Seen” for actors especially if they are not right for any of the roles listed in the EPA announcement. If you are really right for the role, it is an excellent method to hone your audition skills and read/sing for the project. It is hit or miss for theatres and casting directors who are hired to find talent. Sometimes they can be quite useful but consider lowering expectations as there are other, more typical/reliable ways to find talent (agents, database, Actors Access). Use your own good taste and judgment to decide if an EPA is time well spent.

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