Musicians’ Union vows to continue fight for War Horse band

war-horse New London September 2012 A scene from War Horse, a show that won best sound design for a play at the Tony Awards in 2011. Photo: Brinkhoff Mogenburg
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The Musicians’ Union has claimed its fight on behalf of musicians that were made redundant from the West End production of War Horse is “far from over”.

This is despite the band’s failed attempt to secure an interim injunction, which would have allowed them to return to work temporarily ahead of a final hearing over a breach of contract claim.

The membership body, which is providing legal support to the five performers after the National Theatre dismissed them from the New London Theatre run of the show last month, said it was “disappointed” the interim injunction had been denied.

However, the union added it believed the band had an “extremely robust” breach of contract claim for the NT to answer, which it would be pursuing on behalf of the performers.

This comes after a High Court judge yesterday ruled that the injunction would not be granted due to the “interference with artistic expression” that would be caused if the NT were required to reintegrate the band into the show.

Despite this, Mr Justice Cranston said the musicians had “strong” prospects for bringing a case on the grounds of breach of contract by the National.

Horace Trubridge, MU assistant general secretary, said the union denied the NT’s argument that it would not be workable for the musicians to rejoin the show a month after being removed.

He said: “The band could go back into the show tonight, if the NT permitted it. The musicians have fulfilled their side of the bargain and the NT has broken its promise to employ them until the production closes.”

Trubridge added: “Had we won [the interim injunction], we would have established a new legal precedent and this was possibly our best chance of ensuring our members’ contracts were honoured.

“However, the fight is far from over and we believe the band has an extremely robust breach of contract claim for the NT to answer.”