AEA Elections



Hello ... I am David Sitler running for Re-election as an Eastern Principal Councillor for Actors’ Equity.

I have been a member for 33 years and make my living in the theater as an actor often serving as AEA cast deputy, and I have also worked as an Equity SM and ASM. I have worked 18 different contracts from Broadway Production to Showcase with the majority of my work in theaters outside NYC. I work in all three regions engaging with members about their concerns in their hometowns and becoming a voice for them on Council. I have been blessed to share the stage with many of you reading this.

While working at Illinois Shakes, the Artistic Director Deb Alley hung this quote on her office wall:

(Harry S. Truman)

These words have rung especially true in my years of service for the Union. Most of the work of the Union actually happens in committee. I have been serving on a number of them for almost 20 years: DEVELOPING THEATRE (vice chair), LORT, OFF OFF BROADWAY, GUEST ARTIST (vice chair), URTA (vice chair), PUBLIC POLICY, and CASINO. I am a vice chair for the Eastern Regional Board, and I have served on 3 contract negotiating teams - once as chair.. It takes the Council working together with the committees to bring about the changes and progress that benefit our membership. Change may be introduced by one voice, but that voice becomes melded and shaped by the body into something stronger and more enduring.

I stepped up my service by running for Council five years ago, and I want to thank you for entrusting me with that responsibility. In my tenure as your Councillor, I diligently attended council meetings even when working out of town. I contributed substantially to many of the initiatives Council approved, all the while fighting for you the members in committees. I did a lot of listening in the room as I learned about the responsibility that I bear; but when I did speak, I had my fellow Councillors’ ears and gained their respect. I am known for being fair, honest, and impartial – willing to make the difficult decision.

In my speech at the Membership meeting, I focused on what I learned during my 5 years on Council – in short that “with great power comes great responsibility.” I also noted that the candidates’ statements sound a lot alike which should not come as a surprise. We all want what is best for our members: a stronger union with more work and health weeks for all nationwide regardless of race, age, disability, or sexual identity.

COMMUNICATION - COMMUNICATION - COMMUNICATION Council needs to be more accessible to the members. When a member reaches out to me I always respond, and if necessary pursue the answer within the Union’s resources to help that member with their issue. Your concern becomes mine. Remember, I am a member as well, and the decisions that Council makes affect my career opportunities and work environment as much as they do yours, and we all benefit from being better informed.

GENDER PARITY This is something whose time has come and it is the right thing to do. I will work for a more balanced and equitable representation of men and women in our theatrical community both onstage and in stage management.

DIVERSITY I just saw an amazing production of DEARLY DEPARTED here in Sarasota at the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe with an all black cast. I applaud (and thunderously did applaud) this imaginative vision of casting this production. Again, something we need to promote and support better as a Union. Hiring a Diversity Director is a huge step.

HEALTH INSURANCE We need to make it easier for members to be eligible for health insurance. Why not incorporate a more lenient look back for those times when we fall one week short.

EPAS, ONLINE SIGNUPS & SELF-SUBMISSIONS THAT ARE VIABLE AND WORTH OUR TIME I’ve been online with you at 6 am when I’m not lucky enough to get an online appointment. Although the online signup is an improvement, it can still be a heart-pounding frustration, and we can improve that system. I got my first job from an EPA, and numerous job opportunities since, including a National tour. Like you, I rely on self-submissions through the AEA Casting Call and want to expand self-submissions to every contract across the board. Let’s face it; we have to be able to get in the room if we are going to have any chance of getting the job or role.

It has been a tough couple of years in Council, and as the saying goes - “A Smooth Sea Never Made A Skillful Sailor.” It takes all hands on deck to weather the storm. There tends to be a lot of looking out for individual interests in Council, but when we need to band together - we do. In this negative political environment toward Unions and with severe cuts to funding for the Arts and ultimately our livelihood facing us, we need council members with the grit, experience and passion to fight for our rights and to keep the audition room and workplace a safe, open, creative environment. Let’s keep Actors’ Equity moving forward as a more Aggressive, Inclusive and Responsive Union for you the member.

There is a vast field of candidates for the 5 seats available in the Eastern Region and I ask for your vote. The difference between who is elected usually comes down to a handful of votes, and this is a popular vote – so your vote counts. If you have read this far, you care about this union as much as I do. Thank you for considering me to continue to be your voice in the room. Make your voice heard and vote. Ballots are due May 24…vote today.

If you want to check out my speech from the Membership meeting on 4/25 here is the YouTube link

States Worked: FL, ME, MA, VT, CT, NY, NJ, PA, VA, NC, SC, TN, IL, OH, LA, TX, UT, CA, WA, AZ, WI, MN, DE, KY, IW, and D.C.








Contracts: Production, LORT, WCLO, ANTC, URTA, LOA, SPT, Mini, Outdoor Drama, Dinner Theatre, Casino, Guest Artist, Stock, Special Appearance, TYA, Staged Reading, and Showcase

For the past five years, I have been privileged to serve you as an Eastern Principal Councillor. I’ve learned that the process is rarely easy, but I welcome again the responsibility to make a difference and to be your voice and ears in the room where it happens.

I joined Equity in 1984 and make my living primarily in the theatre working contracts from Production to Showcase, often serving as deputy. I currently serve on 5 committees (vice chair of 3) and as an Eastern regional vice chair. I have been at the table 3 times for contract negotiations, once as chair. I also volunteer with VITA. As a working actor on council, primarily outside of NYC, fellow members have reached out to me with concerns, and I pursue those concerns as my own. I share your struggle, frustration and exhilaration of making a living in the theatre, waiting in line for an EPA at 6am, and falling one week short for health coverage. These are some of my priorities:

• Improve communication between Council and Members
• Increase self-submission opportunities to Casting Directors
• Organize more union theaters and increase health-covered work weeks
• Work for more diversity in casting and gender parity in contracts
• Keep and make EPAs a more meaningful audition experience

Thank you for considering me. I ask for your vote to continue serving all of our members across the country – whether you just got your card or have carried it for decades. To contact me and for more information, check out or on Facebook David Sitler for AEA Eastern Principal Councillor.