20 September 2018
Equity, working alongside Stage Directors UK (SDUK), has succeeded in bringing a series of negotiations to a successful conclusion with UK Theatre and West End Managers achieving new and robust agreements for directors commencing from 1 August 2018.
Over a period of three years and 8 months, minimum fees paid by the managers to directors are guaranteed to increase by 21.6% in the West End and UK Theatre Subsidised Sector and by 22.7% in the UK Theatre Commercial sector. For those directors working at or near the minimum fees these represent substantial and immediate increases with an uplift from 1 August of 5% or 6%. This increase alone can be compared to increases in average earnings in the whole economy of 2.4%.
For the first time Equity’s negotiations were supported by Stage Directors UK, and members of Equity’s Working Party were members of both Equity’s specialist Designers and Directors Committee and Stage Directors UK. This ensured that the union’s negotiators had the benefit of the research that SDUK had undertaken into Directors fees and also the support of its own membership.
Equity and SDUK will be publishing the new rates and agreements and advising directors to ensure that all the minimum terms are being met.
Hilary Hadley, Equity’s Head of Live Performance Department, commented:
“Equity is delighted to have entered into new agreements with the managers for directors which are of very real financial benefit, particularly to directors who are new to the profession or who are working at Theatres with very tight budget constraints and find themselves unable to negotiate above the minimum rate. Minimum fees are however just that, and it is Equity’s expectation that directors and their agents will also find their individual negotiations significantly boosted by these increases. For those engaged on the minimum it represents very real and very necessary cash in hand now. We look forward to working with SDUK in the future to help us achieve our further ambitions for the directors agreements, which will include a guaranteed royalty for directors working on the UK Commercial Theatre Agreement”
Thomas Hescott Executive Director of SDUK said:
“These agreements are a testament to the work of SDUK and Equity members, and prove, I hope, that there is a way for unions and trade organisations to work together, whilst retaining our independence and our own identity. These agreements are just the starting point, and represent a good deal for our most vulnerable members – directors in the early stages of their careers. We will be working alongside Equity to ensure all directors, and all agents know the content of the agreements in order to ensure they are being implemented across the sector.
"We have a long way to go before director’s contracts reflect best industry practice, and our next priority will be to more thoroughly investigate royalties for directors. These agreements are a great start, and today we start to prepare for our next round of negotiations in four years time.”