A beginner’s guide to Equity and Spotlight

Everyone goes on about them, but what are they? And why do we need them?


Equity. The big dog. Gone are the days when Equity operated a closed-shop policy. Nowadays (cue Chicago soundtrack) anyone can apply for Equity membership. You’ll either opt for a Student Membership (if you’re still studying) or a Full Membership.

Yeah, great. But what is Equity?
Equity is the UK acting union, made up of actors, stage managers and creative artists. The union works to ensure that our contracts are respected, our demands heard and our rights protected.

Jobs are often listed as an ‘equity’ or ‘non-equity’ contract. This lets you know the type of conditions and pay you can expect; as equity contracts have to meet certain standards set by the Union.

Annual subscriptions are based on your yearly earnings. Membership starts at £128 per year but can be paid monthly.

The Best Bits
Well, apart from standardised contracts, fair pay and free advice, Equity offers its members the following:

  • Professional name reservation
  • One-to-one careers advice
  • Free workshops 
  • Job listings 
  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Discounts on everything from headshots to voice reels.


The all-singing, all-dancing casting hub. Here, agents, casting directors and working professionals come together to post and look for jobs as well as to connect.

But what’s a Spotlight profile? And how do I get one? It’s your online acting CV that contains your headshot and all of your necessary info, credits and various showreels/ voice reels/ vocal reels.

In order to obtain Spotlight membership you have to have a certain amount of previous experience or recognised training.

Young Performer Membership (14-25): £100 per year
Graduate Membership: £100 per year
Full Membership: £154 per year

The Best Bits
Aside from access to all the casting breakdowns and a Spotlight CV, Spotlight offers its members the following:

  • Professional name reservation
  • Spotlight Open House: a week-long event stuffed full with free workshops (runs twice a year)
  • Monthly one-to-one careers advice either in person or over the phone (**highly recommended)
  • Free workshops
  • The Spotlight Podcast: tips, advice and guidance galore!
  • Discounts
  • Showreel editing services
  • Access to Contacts, the industry address book
  • Room and studio hire

Any questions about Spotlight or Equity? Leave me a comment!


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