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£1m wages paid out under Equity fringe agreement

Equity low pay and no pay organiser Emmanuel de Lange. Photo: Phil Adams Equity low pay and no pay organiser Emmanuel de Lange. Photo: Phil Adams
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More than £1 million has been paid out in wages under Equity’s fringe agreement since it launched last year.

The union said that its Professionally Made Professionally Paid campaign, which began in January 2015 and includes a fringe contract guaranteeing at least the minimum wage to performers and stage managers, had been used by 168 productions. In total, this means more than 800 performers and stage managers have been paid at least the minimum wage.

Equity said this amounted to more than £1 million, which is double the amount paid out in the first year of the campaign.

Equity low pay and no pay organiser Emmanuel de Lange said the campaign had been “developing a culture of fair pay and responsible producing in fringe theatre”.

In the most recent Equity magazine, he said: “When we launched the campaign, Equity’s pay survey reported that nearly half of members were earning less than £5,000 a year from their professional work, so the hundreds of thousands of pounds we have seen coming into the sector will make a huge difference.”

However, he said the union remained “very concerned” about access to the industry.

“Fringe theatre is the training ground for actors in this country, but the financial pressures of the profit share and no-pay culture can make it impossible for young actors to break through,” he said.

He said he hoped the campaign was helping to make the industry more “socially diverse and successful”.

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