Last night saw the first official AGM of the relatively new South African Guild of Actors (SAGA) at UJ’s Art Theatre. The turn out was, in my opinion, disappointing, filling up less than a quarter of the lower seats, compared to the launch meeting last year which positively packed out the theatre. Mind you, there were snacks at the last meeting and less rainfall. Also, the committee did mention that many of the members did excuse themselves due to rehearsals, productions or being out of the city.
Nevertheless, it is good to see things coming together. Membership is small but growing steadily and, especially in light of recent mishaps in the industry, many actors are realising the benefits of belonging to a union. The official AGM was short and sweet, dealing with minor administrative issues, mostly regarding SAGA’s legal company and financial status. The open discussion that followed took the majority of the time as opinions and questions flew back and forth with regard to the issues some of our actors are currently having with production and broadcast company, M-Net.
It is nice to have some support in the industry; a union with muscle is long overdue in our industry in South Africa. We are still small and it will be some time before SAGA can really make the level of demands we as actors need to secure our livelihood, but production companies should not underestimate the clout SAGA is already demonstrating. I noticed a fair number of non-members grabbing registration forms as the meeting closed. As we become more of a force to be reckoned with, slowly but surely, South African actors will be able to negotiate better terms and rights with SAGA’s backing, more in line with how our first world breatheren are currently doing it.
Here’s to that future.
For more information and to register as a member, visit the SA Guild of Actors website.