More than 70 actors and backstage staff have been left thousands of pounds out of pocket following the collapse of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, in what union Equity has described as a “brutal blow” to its members.
The pop-up venue, produced by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, ran venues in York and at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire this summer, and had been set to return to York in 2020.
However, The Stage reported last month that the company behind the venues, Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre Ltd, was going into liquidation following “unsustainable losses”.
According to a statement from Equity, the parent company of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, has also gone into liquidation. Companies House currently lists it as in administration.
Equity is now supporting 76 members and said it has helped to collate amounts that performers claim to be owed, currently totalling £15,000, and submitted them to liquidators.
According to the union, there were around 90 performers, stage management and creative team roles across both sites.
Dominic Bascombe, Equity North East regional organiser, said: “The collapse of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre is a brutal blow to our members who worked hard to deliver fantastic shows across the summer.
“Our members have been left owed wages for the work they have done, holiday pay, as well as less-than-expected pension contributions.
“The company has blamed Brexit for the poor sales but there must be an element of blame on the company trying to extend too far, too quickly.”
He added: “We are inviting all our members and anyone who may have worked for Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre over the summer to check that all of their payments from the company were made. If not, they should get in touch with us and we can direct them to the liquidators.”
Lunchbox Theatrical Productions has since issued a statement “strongly disputing” the claims from Equity.