By and large, Equity actors support themselves through their work as performers. But according to actress Linda Gillum: "No one really makes their living just doing theater, so we all do something else." This generally means teaching jobs, voice-over and commercial work; and TV and film when they come through town. For a blink-and-you'll-miss-me role on a television show, an actor might get $500 for the day. That's a nice chunk for a single day's work, but those opportunities are few and far between.
At the other end of the spectrum are non-Equity actors appearing in fringe and storefront productions. They can make from $0 - you read that right - to $200 a week. And it's not because the companies are stingy. The money simply isn't there.
Under these circumstances, any pay is gravy. Some companies offer a one-time stipend for the entire run, ranging from $25 to $500