MU claims NT is in “flagrant” breach of contract in War Horse dispute

A scene from the National Theatre's War Horse. Photo: Simon Annand
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Membership body the Musicians’ Union has labelled the National Theatre’s decision to remove musicians from its West End production of War Horse as a “flagrant” breach of contract.

The union is providing legal support to the five performers involved in the dispute, who are seeking an interim injunction that would allow them to remain working on the show until a full trial later this year.

At a hearing held at the High Court yesterday, lawyer James Laddie - who is representing musicians Neyire Ashworth, Andrew Callard, Jonathan Eddie, David Holt and Colin Rae - requested a temporary court order be put in place.

The MU said the musicians do not accept the NT’s decision to make them redundant.

They believe their contracts cannot be terminated until the closure of the production of War Horse, due to a collective bargaining agreement between the Society of London Theatre – of which the NT and New London Theatre are members - and the MU.

Horace Trubridge, assistant general secretary of the MU, said: “We are challenging this attempt to dismiss the band as it is both a flagrant breach of our agreement with SOLT as well as a breach of the musicians’ individual contracts.

“Moreover, the MU believes that live theatre should be just that, ‘live’, and War Horse audiences should be made aware that the music in the production no longer fits that description when they come and see the show.”

A decision on the interim injunction will be made next week on April 15.