Arena Stage, the Folger Theatre, and the American National Theater would be affected if the proposed strike by Equity members of the League of Resident Theaters comes to pass. Although neither Arena nor the Folger opens until early October, both go into rehearsals at the end of this month. ANT is not a LORT member but has signed the LORT contract. Equity is asking for a 15 percent pay increase for actors and stage managers in larger theaters, an increase in housing subsidies for out-of-town performers and at least one minority actor or stage manager hired for every production, among other demands. The next meeting is scheduled for tomorrow . . .
Arena, by the way, is celebrating its 35th anniversary. And for those who don't know this piece of Washington theater trivia, here is how they came to name themselves Arena Stage: In 1950, when they first set up shop in an old movie house called the Hippodrome, the fire code said that a theater had to include a fire curtain, a proscenium arch and all the apparatus of a European opera house. By calling itself an Arena, they were classified in the same category as a nightclub, church or boxing ring: a public hall.