Margate amusement park Dreamland under fire for advertising acting work below minimum wage
Margate amusement park Dreamland has backtracked on a casting call that asked actors to appear in a Halloween experience for below the minimum wage and without rehearsal pay.
An initial audition notice for Dreamland’s Halloween attraction, Screamland, advertised scare acting jobs paying £40 per night for a shift lasting up to seven hours, which would work out below the national minimum wage of £7.83 per hour. The advert, which it is understood had been distributed to actors, also stated that rehearsals for the job would not be paid.
Dreamland has since attributed this to an “administrative error” and said performers would be paid £45 for five and a half hours (£8.18 per hour) and that rehearsal dates would also be paid at the same rate.
The move follows criticism of the Kent amusement park on social media, including from Equity, which highlighted the initial rates of pay and demanded the company pay actors properly.
“The National Minimum Wage is a legal requirement, not an optional extra. You’re charging up to £48 a ticket for #Screamland but paying actors £40 for up to a seven-hour shift?,” Equity’s low pay/no pay organiser Charlotte Bence tweeted.
Hi @DreamlandMarg! You haven’t responded to my email or returned my call so I’ll ask here instead.
— #MadeAndPaid (@EquityLPNP) September 25, 2018
Actors at the event, which is described as “Kent’s biggest scare festival”, will perform as part of its “interactive scare mazes”, and will be engaged for seven nights over Halloween.
When approached by The Stage about the initial advert, Dreamland outlined the revised pay rates and said: “The communication being referred to was an administrative error on our behalf. We are committed to providing all of our Screamland actors with a competitive rate of pay and have budgeted for this accordingly.”
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.