Equity statement on theatre closures

Following the government’s announcement this afternoon that people should not attend theatres or other public gatherings, SOLT & UKTheatre have interpreted this as meaning that theatres should close. SOLT & UKTheatre are the management associations representing West End, Commercial and major subsidised houses across the UK. Equity was immediately informed of this decision and has had constant, constructive contact from those associations.

The implication of this advice is that almost all theatres in the UK, including the West End of London, will close with immediate effect for a period to be determined. We are in ongoing discussions as to how these closures should be classified, and which provisions under the collective agreements should apply. The union will issue clear direction on the website for all members working on all agreements as to our updated position by 17:00 on the 17 March at the very latest. We will be in constant contact with deputies throughout tonight and today, and urge concerned members to speak to deps first about the latest position.

Members who want more detail as to their current contractual positon can find advice at www.equity.org.uk/coronavirus-advice. The advice on contracts and agreement provisions remains current.

Members who are worried about highly specific circumstances, are working on one hander shows, are on non-union agreements or are ‘creative team’ members currently affected, should contact their relevant organiser directly. Along with deps’ queries, these will be treated as priority enquiries. Please find contacts here.

This is a worrying time for our members, and the solidarity of all Equity members, activists and staff are with those affected. The union will work hard to ensure that members are treated fairly during this uncertain period, putting the health and safety of our members and communities first and protecting their income as best we can. We will be looking at how we can best support members through this period, not just through our collective agreements and advice, but also mutual aid groups and signposting.