Equity members working on Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella were told on Sunday 1 May that the show will end on 12 June. Not only was the news shared on a Sunday before a bank holiday — meaning those affected could not contact their agent for support — but we understand that some cast members and stage management heard the news first through social media or the press. This is unacceptable — all creative workers deserve to be treated with dignity at work.
In addition, new cast and stage management had recently been hired and were due to start work soon. These performers had planned their lives around what they thought was going to be their next job, including expected future earnings, accommodation arrangements and even turning down other work.
That they have been told they have lost this work now, points to the long running precarity of the entertainment industry, perpetuated by poor management and a lack of respect for our members — which is why Equity is fighting for better working rights across the sector.
We are making the following demands of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group:
- Producers should give more thought to the effect of their business decisions on the real lives of their work force and how they communicate it to them: For example: Do not tell cast and stage management that the contract is cancelled on a Sunday evening in advance of a bank holiday.
- Tell the Union in advance of intended closure, and make sure that all cast members have been individually told in good time before releasing any news via social media or the press. Do not think that sending an e-mail out to an Agent or cast member after hours is fulfilling your obligation. It is not a press matter it is a matter of workers dignity.
- Compensation should be made to both current and future cast members. The full value of the current cast members contract until it ends on the 17 July, and payment of adequate compensation to those contracted who were due to start work beginning of June
Equity's General Secretary Paul W Fleming said:
"Equity members made this show. They poured their hearts and skills into it through the worst two years in living memory. Now they're jobless, effectively sacked by press release. All unions are fighting forms of this practice right now — and Equity will get compensation for our members after the pain and distress this has caused them."
Equity leads Cinderella protest
Equity members protested against the treatment of performers and creative workers on Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne theatre on Tuesday 3 May. We sent a message that our members and all creative workers deserve to be treated with dignity at work.
If you've been affected
If you've been affected by the closure of Cinderella, get in touch with Hannah Plant, Industrial Official, Live Performance at Equity on email@example.com.