A stage name
, or a screen name
for film stars, is a pseudonym
used by performers and actors. People may take on a stage name because their real name is considered dull, amusing for the wrong reasons, or projects the wrong image; or because they wish to remain anonymous in relation to another sphere of work. In past decades stage names were used because certain actors real names were considered too "ethnic". In Britain, the actors' union Equity
stipulates that no two members may have the same working name, and therefore actors are often forced to modify their name or take a new one. The Screen Actors Guild
has similar rules in the United States.
A consideration in choosing a stage name is ease of use. Actor's Equity Association (AEA) advises performers to select a name that is easy for others to pronounce, spell and remember. A survey of the three U.S. regional heads of AEA reveals that a performer whose name is difficult to pronounce, spell, or remember is less likely to be hired than other performers.
Many performers refer to their stage names as their 'professional names'.
Famous stage names include: