About our new Internship rules

Q & A

Q: Why these new rules?

A: Because too many theatres have exploited their interns simply to get cheap labor for the theatre, instead of any intent to provide a learning environment. While there are still some theatres who follow the law in letter and spirit, far too many do not, and some of these are well known. That it is currently considered "normal" for a theatre to have entire crews made up primarily of "interns" should horrify us as an industry.

Q: Doesn't provided housing count toward total pay?

A: It is difficult for a prospective employee (or this website) to determine the approximate value of provided housing, as each type of housing and its locations are different. This becomes even trickier when employer provided housing is really the only housing available in the area, such as in rural locations. This is the main reason we now require for all listings that any provided housing simply be included, and not seperately deducted from the employee's pay by the employer.

In regards to our internship minimum pay rule, housing DOES NOT count toward total pay. This is due to the combination of the indeterminate value of the housing, and the implied promise of an internship. For too long interns have arrived at numerous theatres to start what was supposed to be a chance to learn from and surrounded by professionals, only to find they are responsible for the majority of the physical labor of the department (or several departments), required to work 10-12+ hour days, and then sent to their provided housing with multiple people to a room and even more to a bathroom. All while being told that that they should be grateful for the $100 a week and the "opportunity" to work there.

Q: If interns are paid a full rate, then why also require the internship program to be approved? Doesn't paying them like regular employees negate the problem with work responsibilities?

A: Regular employees aren't being promised guidance and teaching by the employer as part of the job description. If you want employees, hire employees. But internships are a promise to teach and guide, not to do or have the same work and responsiblities of a regular employee. Interns are not supposed to displace regular employees. Theatres with entire show crews made up of interns are simply trying to cut costs, not provide guidance.

Only internship programs that do not use their interns as their primary or de facto source of labor for some or all of their departments will be allowed to post internship listings. For example, if your company primarily uses department heads supervising entire crews of interns, you either need to convert those "internships" to jobs, or stop posting those "internships" here.

Q: But you don't require minimum pay rates for regular jobs. Why do this for internships but not all job listings?

A: OffStageJobs.com has always allowed low-paying, flat fee, and non-paying jobs since the founding of this site nearly 25 years ago. This was to allow small theatres and community groups to be able to look for people, while being upfront about what they were able to pay. We have no plans to abandon those theatres, which is where many of us (myself included) got their start. Our post-the-pay rule compliments that intent, allowing prospective applicants to immediately determine if this is a job they may want.

But internships are another matter. If you are large enough to do an internship program, you should be able to handle paying at least minimum wage to your interns. If not, you should not be doing an internship program.

Q: So if my company is approved to post internships, can I promote that, like "Internship Program Approved by OffStageJobs.com?"

A: No. This is not an accreditation nor even a thorough vetting. Approval of a company to post internship listings is primarily based on the information they provide us, and is not an endorsement of those companies nor their internship programs. This is simply an approval to post, not a promise that the information stated in the post has been verified.

Companies approved to post internships are still subject to all of our Terms of Use. Companies found to have provided false information in their approval application email, or whose internship programs turn out to be materially different than stated in their application email may be banned from the site.

Q: How do I apply for approval to post internships?

A: The application link is available in the sidebar to the left after logging-in. Only users with activated accounts can post jobs anyway, so it made sense to set up the link that way (and it cuts down on spam).

Patrick Hudson
Founder, OffStageJobs.com