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West End cast members offered job security amid theatre shutdown

Society of London Theatre (SOLT) has teamed up with Equity to support theatre contract workers during the Covid-19 blackout of West End shows and other live events.

Equity, which is a union of more than 47,000 performers and creative practitioners, has connected with SOLT, a not-for-profit organisation representing the London theatre industry, to offer job security during theatre closures.

The two entities have agreed to offer extended contracts to those appearing in long-running shows, limited-run productions and those still in rehearsals. Under the new agreement, when theatres reopen, casts will be able to continue working with the same productions.

Julian Bird, chief executive of the SOLT, said: “Equity and ourselves have worked tirelessly since the shutdown to protect jobs and address the needs of our West End workforce during this crisis. We all need to work together to ensure that we can get through this as an industry, and are ready to welcome audiences back into our theatres as soon as possible.”

TheTicketingBusiness understands that cast members of cancelled shows are not included in these job security measures. However, SOLT said that the UK government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will provide financial protection for many actors and creative and assured they, along with Equity, will continue to lobby for those who the scheme does not support.

Hilary Hadley, head of Equity’s live performance department, said: “It is only by our closely working together that we have managed to develop this Agreement, which provides a route map for our West End producers, performers and stage management.

“It is our joint hope that this new Agreement will see the West End Theatre industry through this bleakest period and enable the smooth resumption of the rehearsals and performances which were so abruptly stopped by COVID-19.”

West End performances are currently cancelled until May 31, and will continue to be cancelled on a rolling basis while awaiting further guidance from government.

Image: Steve Collis 

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