Actors employed on a touring musical are owed thousands of pounds and fear they will not receive full payment after it emerged the show’s producers have a history of not paying performers properly.
The cast members were part of A Viennese Strauss Gala, staged by Theatre Productions, which is run by Stephen Leatherland and Karie Musson. Both are known to Equity and are named on the union’s Special Attention list for issues concerning performers’ payments.
However, they are not listed under Theatre Productions, but in connection with three other companies they have been associated with – Theatre Master Ltd, Standing Ovations Ltd and Theatre 1st Ltd. According to Companies House, Standing Ovations and Theatre 1st have been dissolved.
One performer who worked with Theatre Productions on A Viennese Strauss Gala, which ran in January and February, said he is owed thousands of pounds for his work on the tour.
“Every time you speak to them it’s like you’re asking for a huge favour to get money out of them, but you think, ‘I earned this money from you’,” he said, adding: “I want other actors to know about this. I don’t want them doing this to other people.”
He said the company requested invoices, which he submitted on a weekly basis. While he received some money owed to him at the beginning of the tour, he is still awaiting payments for four invoices submitted in February, totalling more than £3,000. His contract stated he would be paid within 14 days of each invoice.
The performer added that Leatherland and Musson told him he could not be paid because some of the theatres visited on the tour had not yet paid the production company. But he claimed he had contacted the theatres himself, and said two thirds of them insisted they had paid Theatre Productions. “And anyway, my contract is with Theatre Product-ions, not the theatres, so they should have the money to pay us,” he added.
He said he also had a number of other contractual issues with the company, including problems with cancelled shows and accommodation.
Another performer in the show said she was waiting for around £4,000 from the company, including expenses for travel, such as the cost of flying to Ireland with the production. She said she received a cheque for some of her payment this week, which bounced.
Musson said the tour finished at the end of February and that all performers would be paid in full. However, she could not confirm when.
She said: “There is a bigger story here about the major players [venues] taking longer and longer to pay producers. We’ve done the work for the theatres. How can artists be paid when venues take 60 days to pay producers?”