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Regulation Book
of the
Professional Yiddish Actors' Union in Poland




Cover of Regulation Book in Yiddish

  Cover of Regulation Book in Polish


§ 1: No artist - either an active or passive member of the Union - has the right to perform with non-members of the Union.

§ 2: The artist is obliged to accept every part that was assigned to him by the stage manager and was approved by the troupe management.

§ 3: One and the same part can be assigned to two or three artists that would replace each other, which means all those filling in for the part have equal rights to the part, and who will play at the première is selected by lot.

§ 4: Every artist has the right to demand not less than four proof rehearsals. Exceptionally he might also have to play without rehearsals.

Note 1: Participation in the management gives the right to receive additional pay.

Note 2: In the case when a leading role needs to be replaced in the production, the troupe's council will decide about it.

Note 3: Improvisations will be announced from the stage.

§ 5: Artists are obliged to know their parts thoroughly. They are given a certain period of time for the purpose of learning their parts: four days for ordinary texts and seven days for complex parts and for singing.

Note: At the second rehearsal the part must be known superficially; at the third rehearsal the part must be known without fail under the prompter. For plays with extensive texts, the artist must know his part by heart three days before the première.

§ 6: Artists have no right to make changes or shorten their parts without the previous authorization of the stage manager.

§ 7: Artists must be on time for rehearsals. The stage manager and his assistant must be present fifteen minutes before the given time.

§ 8: Artists are obliged to rehearse in the right tone of voice and at the right pace, and must repeat scenes or acts as many times as the stage manager requires.

Note: Rehearsals in low voice are only exceptionally allowed by the stage manager.

§ 9: It is forbidden to rehearse while wearing a hat or a coat (by temperatures of 12° Celsius), or while holding walking-sticks or umbrellas.

§ 10: Artists who finished rehearsing may not leave the theatre without the stage manager’s permission.

§ 11: Artists may not make remarks to the stage manager, or make any changes in the stage production.

§ 12: During the last rehearsal the prompter must prompt from the booth, as asked by the stage manager.

§ 13: Nobody is allowed to be in the avant-scène (apron) during rehearsals, except the stage manager, his assistant, and the prompter.

§ 14: It is strictly forbidden to smoke on the stage.

Note: Exceptions are the stage manager, his assistant, and the prompter during rehearsals.

§ 15: It is strictly forbidden to drink alcohol or play cards on the theatre premises.

§ 16: It is forbidden to send on errands for your own needs someone who is not from the theatre personnel, and with the consent of the administration.

§ 17. Every actor is obligated to participate in photographic sessions, which may not take place on the same day of an opening performance.

§ 18. Every actor who works entered into agreement to work for us, must appear for at least one performance.

§ 19. Every actor who is a member of the Union does not have the right to play more than two roles as an understudy—and not more than three roles in an actual performance.

§ 20. Every performer is obliged to be present for a performance one hour before the opening of the act, in which he has to appear for the director and the assistants—one hour before the start of the play.

§ 21. In case of illness, the performer must immediately inform the administration.

§ 22. Two hours before a performance, an actor who is not at home must provide us with the address where he is located.

§ 23. Every actor must be prepared to take his place at the sound of the second bell; meaning five minutes before the start of an act.

Note: In case of a change of costumes twelve minutes is allocated.

§ 24. The performers are forbidden at the time of the announcements to be on the stage.

Note: The staff who assist the actors must be in their dressing rooms; they must not, under any circumstance find themselves behind the wings without the specific permission of the director.

§ 25. The performers must submit to the director’s instructions in connection with costumes, hairdos, wigs and makeup.

§ 26. The performer who has participated in a performance has no permission at the end of his performance to show himself or herself in public, either in the auditorium or in the foyer, buffet or any other public place.

§ 27. The performers who do not participate in the play have the right to appear in the public areas but only in those places that have been pointed out to them by the theatre administrators, but no closer to the stage than the fifth row; therefore if they do find themselves in a public area, these performers do not have the right to exhibit either their pleasure or displeasure either with the performance.

§ 28. An actor who is sick and who has been replaced by another actor is strongly forbidden to appear in the theatre at any time during the performance.

§ 29. The performers must relate to both the rehearsals and the performances with the fullest sincerity, observing order and decorum. 

§ 30. One actor to another does not have the right to offer any comments whatsoever about the presentation of his/her role.

§ 31. The performers are strongly forbidden, during a performance, to make any comment whatsoever to the public.

Note: Upon the stage the artists are strongly forbidden to make any comments one to another or to comment on the other’s shortcomings.

§ 32. Without the permission of the director (or the company executives) the actor cannot leave the city.

§ 33. Every actor who has signed an outside agreement will be fined through the executive of the Union.

§ 34. Every actor is obliged, upon joining a troupe, to possess appropriate clothes: for fancy parties, visiting and out-of-doors costumes.

II.  The Troupes

§ 35. A member of the Union may not receive any other salary.

Note A: An exception can be made for passive members or for guest stars.

Note B: A guest star is anyone who performs for no more than two weeks. After this period if he or she remains in the troupe the guest star must undertake all the rules of the Union.

Note C: In exceptional cases we must refer to the Union for a decision. 

§ 36. Points are issued through a committee which is selected (through a secret vote) at a general meeting of the troupe.

§ 37. After issuing these points every single member shall be asked to appear before the committee who will then discuss with him or her the value of the largest and smallest points, and how many points he or she  will receive without discussing the value of the points of any other member. If he or she is not satisfied with the valuation of the points that person must explain his or her motives and reasons so that the committee can reconsider it after its disclosure. After this, the artistic committee of the Union shall confirm this.

§ 38. In every troupe and venture, five members shall vote for one administrator.

Note A: A troupe cannot consist of less than fifteen members.

Note B: The number of passive (non-active) members can reach ten percent (this means from one to ten percent) or from two to twenty percent, etc.

§ 39: Every new member who is taken on by an existing troupe has the right to make use of its inventory so long as he takes part in a performance. The new member does not have to pay any extra compensation.

§ 40: The question about liquidation of inventory from a troupe has to be carried out together with the Union.


1) Confirmation of the creation of acting roles through the director.

2) Managing the budget and material possessions of the troupe.

3) The executive is responsible for the correct and exacting payments to the Union.

4) Confirming the repertoire.

5) Enforcing all fines.

6) Cooperative orders.

§ 42: Every newly created troupe must immediately join the Union, and then submit this decision and any outstanding points in his possession and confirm this with the artistic executive.

§ 43: Any pre-existing troupe must reorganize itself to integrate itself according to these decisions.

III. The Duty of the Directorate

§ 44: In case of a sickness (as confirmed by the executive) the directorate must pay the sick person up to three (3) months of their total salary. Any amounts the exceed three (3) months—half of the salary as agreed upon in the confirmation.

§ 45: At the time of a military draft notice we will pay half of the salary.

§ 46: In case of a pregnancy the directorate shall pay the entire salary till the date when the actress was unable to perform any longer on the stage.

§ 47: The directorate is obligated to give each performer a paid-up leave of absence for a time equal to half of the length of the contract.

§ 48: The directorate is obligated to protect the artist in case of unforeseeable occurrences which may happen during the period of work in the theatre (according to the interpretation of the executive). If this is not done, the directorate must pay out all of the salary including all payments for medical expenses for the entire time when the artist was incapable of work.

§ 49: In case of cancellation of the performances the directorate is responsible to pay the entire salary owed. An exception can only be made by legitimate farce-mazsher. (Which can only be decided by the central executive of the Union).

§ 50: The directorate is obligated to provide the artist with all sorts of costumes: historic, stylistic, also wigs, powder, water to wash and the cost of a hairdresser and tailor.

§ 51: If the directorate decides that the artist has to make a necessary costume apart from that in article 34, it is obliged to cover forty percent of the costs, and the costume remains the property of the artist.

§ 52: It is obliged to pay for ruined or stolen costumes in the theatre, if the costumes were the property of the theatre personnel.

§ 53: In cases where it is necessary to transfer the troupe or an individual member from the city as shown in the contract to any other place, the directorate takes upon itself the following debts:

1) Must pay for: the trip (second class), baggage up to five poods (ed.: 1 pood=16.38 kg) for every member of the troupe, and also for coaches and porters.

2) Upon moving the troupe to a second city the time (up to two months) shall be paid for by the directorate to every member also an additional amount of fifty percent of the members salary and in addition all the hotel costs.

3) In cases where a trip has to be undertaken the directorate must inform the troupe a week beforehand.

Note: All contracts must be approved by the Union.

§ 54: The enterprise has not role in engaging artists who are not members of the  union.

§ 55: The directorate is obligated to pay their salaries two weeks in advance.

Note: Not paying the salary three days gives the artist the right to bring the dispute to the directorate.


IV. The Organization of the Work and the Work in the Theatre

§ 56: On the day of a performance there can only be one rehearsal. When no performance is being held---two rehearsals may be permitted. Each rehearsal cannot last more than four hours.

Note: Rehearsals cannot be held on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and those days when there are two performances.

§ 57: For any new play under production, there cannot be more than two full dress rehearsals, and neither of them can last for more than six hours.

Note: General rehearsals are those that include with make-up, costumes and decorations.

§ 58: On the day of a live performance there cannot be a dress rehearsal.

§ 59: Rehearsals cannot begin earlier than ten o’clock in the morning.

§ 60: After waiting for an hour for a rehearsal to begin, the actor has the right to leave the theatre. If this issue is not important to the players, the rehearsal can proceed.

§ 61: All benefit and special evening performances are unconditionally forbidden. Anniversary performances can be held but only with the agreement of the Central Committee of the Actors' Union.

§ 62: In changing a bit that has not been staged in the course of three months, the actor has the right to demand a rehearsal.

§ 63: The Assistant General Director has no right at the time of a rehearsal or of a performance to go onto the stage in order to ask an actor to explain him or herself for being late. The actor is, however, solely responsible for his or her lateness and he or she alone must answer for it.

Note: The assistant must provide chairs for the actors behind the wings.

§ 64: The first bell will ring fifteen minutes, and the second five minutes prior to the opening. The third bell will announce the beginning of performance.

§ 65: By the time of the second bell the actor must be onstage.

§ 66: The Assistant General Director must not perform in any roles on stage at the time when he is actively the assistant.

§ 67: There will be a designated place behind the wings where there will be a place upon which all of the announcements are posted.

Note: The repertoire must be posted four days before the performance and the rehearsal schedule, two days prior to the rehearsal.

§ 68: A fully supplied medicine chest must be present behind the wings of the theatre. The Assistant General Director must have the key on his person to this chest.

§ 69: All foods and beverages that will be served on the stage must, without exception, be hygienically clean and answerable to the Assistant General Director.

§ 70: A clock must be displayed in a visible place behind the wings. This is done for the correct operation of the performance and for the responsibility of the administrators of the theatre.

V. Penalties

 Every actor can be penalized in the following manner:

§71. For refusing to perform or to be an understudy for a role, the actor is penalized according to the discernment of the committee, a fine of seven days' wages and to dismissal from the troupe.

§ 72: For refusing to perform on an extraordinary occasion from a role— dismissal from the troupe.

§ 73: For being late for a performance that is completely the fault of the actor as late as fifteen minutes,--three days' salary; thirty minutes—ten days' salary, over thirty minutes is considered to the be the same as not appearing at all to a performance (see items 20, 23).

§ 74: Being late to appear on stage during a performance: the first time—three days' salary, the second time—ten days' salary, the third time—fifteen days' salary, the fourth time dismissal from the troupe (see item 65).

§ 75: For not appearing at a performance: the first time fifteen days' salary, the second time—dismissal from the troupe

Note: A. In a case where a substitute is engaged to replace the actor, the actor has to pay the costs of hiring the substitute.

Note B. On the occasion when the play has to be changed completely, the guilty party must pay for the difference in ticket sales that occur due to refunded tickets.

Note C: If it becomes necessary to cancel the performance the guilty party must pay for all costs (see item 20).

§ 76: For being late for a rehearsal: fifteen minutes—one-tenth of the daily salary, till thirty minutes—one-half days' salary, over thirty minutes is considered the same as not appearing for a rehearsal altogether (see item 7).

§ 77: For not appearing for a rehearsal: the first occasion—three days' salary, on the second—seven days' salary, on the third—fifteen days' salary, On the fourth—dismissal from the troupe.

§ 78: For leaving the theatre at the time of a rehearsal without the permission of the director: on the first occasion—three days' salary, on the second—seven days' salary, on the third—fifteen days' salary, on the fourth—dismissal from the troupe. (See item 10).

§ 79: For not preparing for a role (see item 5), for improper adornment at the first rehearsal (see items 8, 9,11,28)—three days' salary, for the second seven days' salary, for the third—fifteen days' salary, for the fourth—expulsion from the troupe.

§ 80: For appealing to the public in order to emphasize another actors shortcomings, or for improper appearance on the stage during a performance, for the first time—seven days' salary, for the second—fifteen days' salary, for the third—expulsion from the troupe (see item 31).

§ 81: For appearing in another theatre or for leaving the city, without the permission of the director or the committee; for the first time—seven days' salary, for the second time –fifteen days' salary, for the third time expulsion (see item 32).

§ 82: For not informing the administration of the theatre in case of an illness, for not agreeing to appear in a photograph or for lending theatre inventory to outsiders; for the first time—three days' salary, the second time—seven days' salary, the third time—fifteen days' salary, the fourth time, expulsion.

§ 83: Not leaving your address with the theatre administrators is the same penalty as for not coming to a performance (see item 22).

§ 84: For smoking on the stage—not more than one-third of daily salary (see item14).

§ 85: For ignoring item 15: for the first time—fifteen days' salary, for the second occasion—one month’s salary-- for the third time, expulsion from the troupe.

§ 86: For not following items 16, 26, 27, for the first time three days' salary, for the second time—seven days' salary, for the third time—fifteen days' salary, for the fourth occasion – a month’s salary, and for the fifth time expulsion from the troupe.

§ 87: If the assistant director leaves the stage his is fined (See item 63) for the first time—five days' salary. For the second time—ten days' salary, for the third time—twenty days' salary for the fourth time—one month’s salary, for the fifth time—expulsion from the troupe.

§ 88: If an actor violates various rules, on the sixth occasion he will be expelled from the troupe.

§ 89: All penalties are to be handled by the union for the benefit of the retirement and school funds.

§ 90: All penalties must be confirmed by the Board of Directors of the troupe.

Note: All penalties are deducted by the committee when salaries are distributed.

§ 91: If an announcement regarding a penalty is not is not posted two days prior to the offense, then the person to be penalized is not guilty.

§ 92: Complaints for expulsions from the troupe can be presented to the Union.

§ 93: For signing a fictitious contract the penalty will be decided after an investigation by the Union.

VI. Surcharges for a Director

§ 94: For participation in a outside performance on the same day--one-half of the daily salary.

§ 95: For every hour of a special rehearsal: Daytime: one-eighth of the daily salary. Nighttime: one-half of the daily salary.

§ 96: In exceptional cases, for outside understudying: thirty days salary according to the final decision of the committee.

§ 97: For rehearsals which are not defined in the final contract: for each rehearsal one-half of the daily salary.

VII. Payments for the Benefit of the Union

§ 98: Every director pays two percent of the gross income after paying taxes: one percent to support the retirement fund and one percent for the sake of the school fund.

§ 99: Actors who are also directors pay one-and-one-half percent of their salaries for the sake of the sick fund one percent, and one-half percent for the press fund.

§ 100: The “Ches” troupe contributes three percent of their net income for the sake of: retirement one percent, The school fund one percent, sickness fund one-half percent and the press fund one-half.

§ 101: Every member of the union pays monthly, for the appointment of the executive of the Union and in order to support Union activities.

§ 102: Guest stars and other performers must pay five percent of their earnings.






Original material courtesy of YIVO.

Translation by Paul


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