theatre-and-incomeTitle: Is it possible to make an income from playing in a theatre?

“That tells you how much we value teachers and artists in this nation,” said Ishii, who is able to keep managing her 16-year old theatre for just one reason: “Because I’m wed into a neuroscientist who considers theatre is at least as important as treating Alzheimer’s.

They used to say most celebrities in Colorado perform for petrol cash. However, using the price of fuel today, not even that is true anymore.

Bas Bleu pays every performer $200 for the whole run of a play, “whether they’ve one line or 10,000,” said Ishii.

Factoring in rehearsal and performance time, that is less than $1 an hour. And that is common.

Just about 150 individuals can promise to make full time wages in the theatre here. And the things they make changes considerably.

The Denver Center hires about 50 seasonal performers, however they get paid just for the weeks they work. And just about eight of these get complete seasons of work, which will be about 36 weeks of pay.

“And we’re the fortunate ones,” said Sam Gregory, who last summer was likewise a guest performer for the non-union Paragon Theatre’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.”

The Denver Center pays its performers minimums which range from $555 to $816 a week, as ordered by its own contract with Actors Equity. Some make more.

That makes to get a living wage, but scarcely an excessive one, said Gregory, who spent 20 years as an playing gypsy before locating a property using the Denver Center Theatre Company.

Smaller union theatres do not offer as many performances, so their minimums are lower.


Curious Theatre must pay performers at least $250 a week; the Aurora Fox, $187. No union theatre runs 52 weeks annually, but say the Aurora Fox did. If one performer was able to get cast in every show, he still would not clear $10,000 for the year.

When Paragon landed Gregory, Equity establish his wage at $3,400 for 10 weeks of work.

That is far below his Denver Center pay, but nonetheless, it still necessitated a unique fundraising campaign by Paragon’s board. His onstage wife, played by nonunion celebrity Martha Harmon Pardee, made $300 — whole.

That is how ridiculous it’s to make an effort to equate artistic superiority with settlement.

Other firms link wages to presence

Buntport Theater lately became among the state’s few full time professional ensembles.

“We consider ourselves quite fortunate, but we worked really tough to reach the stage where we’re able to make a living wage,” said Erin Rollman.

“But it turned out to be a crucial part of order for people to be true to our mission statement. Working full time in the theatre means we shall have the ability to do more and better work.”

However, the truth is, “most of individuals you see in plays at nighttime have spent their days working in a office or in a restaurant,” said Gregory.

What alternative do they have? With apologies to Beckett: They can not go on. They have to go on.