Legal claim launched against Golden Voice producer for unpaid wages

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Equity is launching legal action against the producer of delayed off-West End musical The Golden Voice, in a bid to claim back tens of thousands of pounds in unpaid cast wages.

The show’s opening at the Arts Theatre in London has already been delayed twice. In June, its first opening night was postponed due to problems with £1.5 million of investment from China being “tied up in international banking red tape”. Originally, the press night was moved from June 19 to July 26. Last week, the July 26 opening was also cancelled.

At the time, the musical’s composer Nick Fogarty and producer Rob Hewitt both said the show would still go ahead and that the cast and crew would be paid what they were owed by the end of last week.

Hewitt confirmed to The Stage that the money had arrived and that all cast and crew would be paid until the end of August, when the show’s run had always been planned to come to an end at the Arts.

He added: “The investor was approached to start off with to fund a show in the autumn and the funds were put into place to get here for the autumn, namely September 1. Then, various people here decided that they wanted to bring the show forward to this time of year. This then caused a problem as far as the investor is concerned because his funds were tied up elsewhere at that point in time. He was then trying to get the funds released to get sent over here, but then experienced all the delays we’ve had. It’s been quite unfortunate.

“We’ve been working tirelessly to set this all up and we’ve now managed to get the funds in place. We’re now starting to make some payments as we speak and over the next few days everybody is going to be paid until the end of August.”

However, as of today [July 30], Equity said performers were still owed tens of thousands of pounds.

Equity has now confirmed that it will be pursuing legal action against the producer, complaining that it had received “excuse after excuse after excuse”.

Speaking to The Stage this week, Hewitt still insisted that cast and crew would be paid imminently.

He said: “The payments have just started to go out. By tomorrow morning, every single person is going to have a payment. Quite a few people have been paid and more people are being paid today. Come 10am tomorrow [July 31] every single person will have been paid.”

Fogarty said he was “devastated” by the further delays. He added: “Even though I’m heart-broken about this production possibly not going ahead, I will be more devastated for all the wonderful people who have been involved in the show, if this doesn’t happen [the money does not arrive tomorrow].”