The American Guild of Musical Artists, AFL-CIO (AGMA) and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) have announced an agreement that will strengthen their existing partnership.
The two national labor unions, which first partnered in May 2020 to create the AGMA/SDC Return to Stage and Performing Arts Playbook (which has been updated throughout the pandemic), will now offer members reciprocal exchange benefits. Members in good standing of AGMA and SDC who seek to join the other union will be entitled to a 50% discount on the initiation fee. Admission to membership in both will be subject to the rules and policies of each union.
Tony-nominated Slave Play director Robert O'Hara will be the first to utilize the new agreement. He will direct Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Davis' X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X at the Metropolitan Opera in 2023 as a co-production between the Met, Detroit Opera, Lyric Opera Chicago, Opera Omaha, and Seattle Opera.
"I am so honored that my first opportunity to direct an opera has coincided with my being the first SDC Member to take advantage of the new SDC/AGMA partnership,” O’Hara said in a statement. “SDC has long been my strongest advocate, and I look forward to becoming a member of AGMA. I encourage my colleagues to explore this opportunity, which ultimately allows each union to better serve its members."
“AGMA and SDC have been working together for quite some time,” added AGMA National Executive Director Sam Wheeler. “AGMA and SDC share members, workplaces, and a vital interest in the arts in the United States. This agreement expands our partnership and provides direct benefits of AGMA and SDC’s collaboration to our members. We are so excited to see where this dynamic partnership takes us next.”
“We are delighted to extend our partnership with AGMA and support the members of both unions,” stated SDC Executive Director Laura Penn. “There are currently 40 individuals who are members of both AGMA and SDC. But there are many other SDC Members who work in opera, and hundreds of AGMA members who identify as directors and choreographers. This agreement will help facilitate their movement between opera and theatre jurisdictions, and support directors and choreographers as they explore new artistic opportunities.”
AGMA members include singers, dancers, and staging staff in opera, ballet, concert dance, and concert choral performance in the United States. SDC Members include professional stage directors and choreographers throughout the country.