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London’s Vaults signs Equity fringe agreement as union campaigns to improve immersive theatre sector

Scene from Games of Thrones parody Dinner Is Coming, an immersive production at the Vaults, London
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London venue the Vaults has signed a pay agreement with union Equity, promising the living wage and a number of other conditions for all its in-house shows.

The Vaults’ programme is dominated by immersive shows, and the agreement has been hailed as a step forward in Equity’s campaign to improve conditions in this sector.

As part of signing up to the fringe agreement, the theatre has pledged to pay the living wage as well as offer holiday pay and pension contributions.

Equity low pay no pay organiser Charlotte Bence said: “This is great news for our new immersive theatre network, whose efforts are already starting to pay off. We’re really looking forward to working with the Vaults and continuing to develop our work to transform the immersive sector for the better.

“Union agreements work for this sector and we’re determined to see more immersive employers using contracts that respect workers’ rights.”

Equity has committed to tackling pay and conditions in the immersive theatre sector as part of a refresh of its Professionally Made Professionally Paid campaign, which established an immersive theatre network.

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The union said it had concerns that people working on immersive shows were being exposed to issues including bad contracts and health and safety concerns.

The agreement will cover shows produced in house by the Vaults, not those from external producers. However, it includes a written stipulation that producers bringing shows to the venue must discuss their own fringe agreements with Equity.

Recent immersive productions at the Vaults have included Fight Night and the Game of Thrones-inspired Dinner Is Coming, while past shows include Alice’s Adventures Underground.

Vaults managing director Kieron Vanstone told The Stage he was “very happy” to have formalised the venue’s relationship with Equity. He said he hoped the move would encourage more immersive producers to sign up to union-approved agreements to develop the sector responsibly.

“There have been a number of articles in the past year around performer welfare in these shows, and so that is what we are acknowledging. We are working with Equity to make sure that we are looking after the performer all the way through [the production process],” he said.

The agreement does not cover the annual Vault Festival, which uses the Vaults’ performance spaces.

Phil Willmott: Don’t pretend that fringe shows make enough to pay everyone

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