London’s Park Theatre has committed to ensuring all performers and stage managers working at the venue are employed on an Equity agreement.
The theatre has always used Equity’s commercial agreement for its own productions, but has now extended its commitment to union terms by making sure external companies bringing shows into the theatre use union-agreed rates.
It said it would make sure performers and stage managers were on appropriate agreements, such as Equity’s fringe agreement for the smallest companies, the Independent Theatre Council agreement for those with public subsidy or the commercial contract for bigger, unsubsidised producers.
The theatre and Equity said they hoped this would mark “a positive way of supporting terms across the industry”, while introducing “new and emerging producers to union terms”.
Park Theatre executive director Rachael Williams said: “As a theatre that prides itself on being supportive of dynamic, emerging producers, we think it’s absolutely right that we work constructively to ensure the performers and stage management who work here – whoever they’re engaged by – are on industry standard, union-negotiated terms.”
She added: “This has been a long-term ambition of ours, and is already working well.”
Paul Fleming, industrial organiser for theatre at Equity, described the move as “really promising” and said it followed similar moves by other venues around the UK.
“This isn’t about penalising new producers, but helping to educate them as to how to engage our members in an ethical way – on the correct union agreement,” he added.
Last year, the venue teamed up with mental health charity Mind to introduce rehearsal practices to protect performers’ mental health.