Equity is pleased to announce that Gala Theatre, Durham has agreed to introduce improved terms and conditions for performers, bringing the regional venue in line with Equity standards.
The new contractual terms are in line with Equity house agreement terms and stipulates minimum pay, terms and conditions for performers and stage management engaged by the Gala Theatre.
Following months of negotiations, members working at the Gala Theatre will now see contractual terms that are in line with the best of the performing industry across the country.
In January 2023, Gala Theatre, Durham agreed to introduce a house agreement with Equity for non-permanent performers and stage management engaged under ‘worker’ status. However this was swiftly terminated in March following the council’s perceived implications of the agreement for performers’ statutory status in employment and tax law.
Equity protested the Council’s decision to renege on the agreement, setting out the industry standard basis for the agreement, and highlighting that the security and dignity of a trade union agreement should also be accessible to performers and stage management who are not permanently employed.
DCC and Equity entered into discussions and have now seen the incorporation of agreed terms into contracts for members working at Gala Theatre, Durham.
The improved terms include recognising overtime and making payment where appropriate, a limit on the number of performances, and commitment to a standard 5 day working week, in line with current industry best practice.
Dominic Bascombe, Equity Regional Official for North East, Yorkshire and Humberside said:
“The introduction of these terms in the contract will provide our members with a great level of comfort that working at Durham Gala Theatre meets acceptable standards. We are pleased that Durham County Council have engaged in this process and have already seen the benefits of the terms being applauded by our members working there over the panto season.
"We urge other local authorities to follow Durham County Council and adopt Equity agreed terms that will provide a dignified, safe and secure workplace environment.”
A spokesperson for Durham County Council said: “Durham County Council are supportive of the work of Equity and continue to work in partnership to provide good working practices for those engaged in our performances.”