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. Equity was the last of the closed shop unions in the UK. This was criticised in 1981 and made illegal in 1988, with the result that it is no longer a requirement that a professional actor be a member of Equity. Equity requires its members to have unique professional names.