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Dwarf actors fear for jobs after pantomime company closure

Warwick Davis and Annabelle Davis in Snow White at New Victoria, Woking. Photo: Ian Olsson
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Qdos Entertainment has moved to address concerns over the future employment of dwarf actors in its pantomimes, following the announcement of a partnership with Ambassador Theatre Group.

From 2017/18 Qdos will produce 10 pantomimes for ATG, moving into the space previously occupied by ATG’s soon-to-be-defunct pantomime arm, First Family Entertainment.

Concerns have been raised by dwarf actors over a potential reduction in job opportunities as a result of the merger. While FFE regularly cast dwarfs in its pantomimes, Qdos has not featured short actors since 2010/11.

Following the announcement of its new relationship with ATG, performer Jay Lusted questioned on Twitter whether Qdos would employ dwarf actors again.

Qdos has previously come under fire for not casting dwarf actors, with some claiming that the move was down to cost-cutting.

It is estimated that dwarf actors are paid around £1,200 per week, compared with other performers, who are paid between £450 and £750.

Responding to concerns, a spokesman for Qdos said the company did not have a “corporate view” on the casting of any parts in its shows.

“Each production is considered individually as part of the creative process. We haven’t yet started casting for 2017 so it would be premature of us to make any comment about the casting of any particular roles,” he said.

In 2016/17, Qdos produced 26 pantomimes across the country, making it the market leader. It will take on the creation of the pantomimes formerly produced by FFE, which this season included 10 productions.

FFE produced two productions of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 2016/17, featuring short actors including Warwick Davis.

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