Theatre & live performance

Equity has been in intense negotiations across all theatre sectors regarding getting the best deals on your existing contracts – West End, Commercial, Subsidised, Independent and Fringe and we have completed an agreement with SOLT to support West End artists and stage management, which can be accessed in full here. We have also completed a deal for theatre workers covering the first period of coronavirus closure, providing as many people as possible with financial support in this initial phase, which can be accessed in full here

Equity is currently working on a COVID-19 Agreement for the Suspension period with UK Theatre for Commercial tours, and with SOLT and UK Theatre for COVID-19 Agreements for our Directors, Designers and Choreographers Agreements. We will achieve an overall deal with the employers where appropriate, but the particular details of your contract may need further investigation. If so, please contact our organisers.


If you work in a ‘standing’ company such as in the Opera and Ballet you will likely qualify for the original government Job Retention Scheme of 80% salary.


If you work in the majority of theatre you will be eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS). This will be a taxable grant administered by HMRC. It will be based on 80% of average monthly profits over the last three tax years (2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19) up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. If you have less than three years of profits available it can be based only on tax year 2018/19. The average trading profits need to be less than £50,000 and more than half of your average taxable income in the same period.

The scheme will have a duration of three months and should be operational by the beginning of June. Payments will be covered retrospectively from the beginning of March. The duration of the scheme may be extended. The government will identify who can apply and they will be asked to complete an application (HMRC will have your contact details). You may also be able to claim Universal Credit. Find out more details from our financial support pages.

We know there are a number of gaps in SEISS scheme and we are lobbying hard to make sure all our members are covered.

Return to Equity's general coronavirus advice.