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80% of theatre professionals claim to have been left unpaid by an employer

Performer Jonathan Ansell, who has made a public protest against unpaid wages
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Four out of five theatre professionals who answered a poll by The Stage claim to have been left unpaid by an employer in the industry.

The poll, hosted on The Stage website, asked whether readers had ever been left unpaid by an employer, after performer Jonathan Ansell stormed a stage in protest against a producer who he claims has failed to pay him money owed.

According to the result of the poll, which saw 267 people respond, 78% of readers said they had been left unpaid by a theatre employer.

The results come as union Equity continues its campaign to stamp out exploitation in the sector, with its low pay/no pay initiative.

A spokesman for the union said the industry body had not experienced an increase in the number of members reporting claims of unpaid work.

But he said: “Equity members are entitled to free legal advice regarding breach of contract arising from professional engagements and the union represents a significant number of members each year in pursuing employers for lack of payment.”

He added: “Equity’s advice is to always contact the union if members have concerns about their contracts or the conditions of their employment.”

Ansell’s complaint has been made against producer Stephen Leatherland, from World on Stage.

The performer claims he is owed about £10,000 in unpaid wages, for a production called A Night in Venice, which toured last year.