Equity (formerly known as the British Actors' Equity Association) is the trade union for actors, stage managers and models in the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1930 by a group of West End performers and, in 1967, it incorporated the Variety Artistes' Federation.

Equity was one of the last of the closed shop unions in the UK. This was criticised in 1981 by the European Court of Human Rights[1] and made illegal in 1988, with the result that it is no longer a requirement that an entertainment professional be a member of Equity.[2][3][4]

Equity requires its members to have unique professional names.[5][6]

The main cast of Are You Being Served? whould - presumably - have held full membership of Equity.


  1. Closed Shop - 2013
  2. The Guardian Theatre Blog by Laura Barnett. Equity boss Malcolm Sinclair answers your questions (15 September 2010)
  3. Equity in the 21st Century (Nerve - Summer 2003 Issue=2
  4. More union trouble for Hurley BBC News 20 October 2000
  5. Your professional name (Equity)
  6. Equity (trade union)

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