A season of badwill was forecast 25 years ago this week, as Britain’s theatres were warned of a winter of discontent over working conditions. Panto was in the sights of union BECTU, which said its members would down tools if bosses refused to countenance the findings of a working party that had proposed a shorter working week and better conditions of service for theatre crews around the country.
BECTU’s theatre chief Gerry Morrissey said if the dispute with the Theatrical Management Association was not resolved, autumn seasons and pantomimes “would be in jeopardy”.
The edition was published a few months after the 1994 football World Cup in the US, and later in the issue we reported that the game’s showpiece event had turned out to be beneficial for the country’s theatre industry. “Broadway,” we reported, “discovered to its great satisfaction that soccer fans aren’t all thugs and lunatics.”
It turned out that spectators going to matches in New York also took in a show while they were there. The event also coincided with the Gay Games and the Stonewall 25 march, the article said, which also helped boost ticket sales. “Much like London, we are finding our tourist audience to have more impact than ever before,” said George Wachtel of the League of American Theatres and Producers.
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