MEAA’s Equity section has been concerned for some time about the health of performers. In 2011 our National Performers Committee was alerted to anecdotal reports of high levels of stress, depression, bullying and sexual harassment, as well as alcohol and drug abuse amongst members.
In response, the Equity Foundation, together with the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Sydney, initiated a ground-breaking Actors’ Wellbeing Study (AWS). It is the largest study ever commissioned into actors’ wellbeing. We wanted to know whether performers experience greater instances of negative physical, psychological and emotional health compared with the rest of the population and whether work practices impact on actors’ health and wellbeing.