BECTU general secretary Gerry Morrissey has written to Kevin Spacey, artistic director of London’s Old Vic Theatre, calling on the venue to pay its interns.
Six three-month internships are advertised on the Old Vic website, including positions supporting the development and marketing teams, and in the production department. The internships are full time, and applicants are warned they must be prepared to work outside their core hours if required. The website states: “Interns are given a small contribution towards expenses.”
In his letter, Morrissey says: “I am sure we are at one in wanting the UK theatre sector as a whole to ride out the economic difficulties, but we must work together to ensure new entrants are not exploited on the way.”
Morrissey’s letter urges Spacey to convert the unpaid internships into paid positions. A statement from BECTU added that the union, which represents backstage and technical theatre staff, hopes Spacey and Old Vic chief executive Sally Greene will “recognise the importance of swift action”.
However, responding to BECTU’s comments, a spokesman for the Old Vic told The Stage: “In common with many others in the sector, the Old Vic, which is owned by a charitable trust, has a small number of short internships which offer young people who are interested in the arts an opportunity to gain experience and insight. We work hard to ensure they are well managed and rewarding for the individuals concerned.”