American Guild of Musical Artists and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society Strengthens Partnership with New Agreement

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American Guild of Musical Artists and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society Strengthens Partnership with New Agreement

SDC and AGMA first partnered in May 2020 for a Go back to Performing and Performing Arts Handbook.


The American Guild of Musical Artists, the AFL-CIO (AGMA) and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) announced an agreement that will strengthen their existing partnership.

The two national unions, which first joined forces in May 2020 to create the AGMA/SDC Return to the Stage and Performing Arts Playbook (which has been updated throughout the pandemic), will now offer members reciprocal trading benefits. AGMA and SDC members in good standing who wish to join the other union will be entitled to a 50% discount on membership fees. 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 use the new deal. He will direct Pulitzer Prize-winning 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 coincided with being the first SDC member to take advantage of the new SDC/AGMA partnership,” O’Hara said in a statement. “The 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 enables each union to better serve its members.

“AGMA and SDC have been working together for 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 the AGMA and SDC collaboration to our members. We are excited to see where this dynamic partnership will take us next.

“We are delighted to extend our partnership with AGMA and support members of both unions,” said SDC Chief Executive Laura Penn. “There are currently 40 people 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 facilitate their movement between opera and theater jurisdictions and support directors and choreographers in their exploration of new artistic opportunities.

AGMA members include singers, dancers, and staging personnel from opera, ballet, concert dance, and concert choir in the United States. SDC members include professional directors and choreographers from across the country.

William N. Fernandez