The President of the Equity union has raised concerns about a “lack of respect” for theater workers as their members protested the sudden closure of West End musical Cinderella.
It was announced on Sunday that, despite opening to rave reviews, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production will end on June 12 after playing at the Gillian Lynne Theater for less than a year.
Some cast members have claimed they read the news on social media or news websites before finding out for themselves.
As Equity members took part in a protest outside the London theater on Tuesday afternoon, union leader Maureen Beattie said: “We are increasingly concerned at the lack of respect shown to our workers.
“The folks at Cinderella found out through a tweet that their show was shutting down – this is absolutely disgraceful behavior.”
Beattie said the industry has endured “a shocking two years of Covid” in which cinemas have been closed.
“The vast majority of people who work in our industry, certainly members of Equity, don’t make the majority of their money in this industry because there just isn’t enough work and the money we’re getting is often not good enough. ” She said.
“So people are actually paying their living, feeding their kids etc by having a second job – and all second jobs during Covid went too because they tend to be in the service industry.
“So we’re coming back. We just need the people we’ve made a lot of money for over the decades to take care of us now and nurture us and have the respect we deserve and give some of that back, and that doesn’t seem to be the case to be event. ”
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The demonstrators, some carrying flags and banners, chanted “Dignity for Cinderella workers” and “Dignity for artists” in front of the theater.
Nicola Blackman, 66, from Rotherhithe, Southwark, south London, who plays the role of Mrs Boyle in Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap also in the West End, said she was at the protest to show “solidarity”.
She said: “I’m here out of solidarity. Dignity for West End Artists. I just find it embarrassing.”
Equity is demanding that current cast members receive the full value of their contracts until they expire on July 17, and that those due to join the cast in early June receive “reasonable compensation.”
She also urges manufacturers to take better account of the impact of their business decisions “on the real lives of their workforce” and notify the union in advance of future closures.
Written by The Crown actress Emerald Fennell and starring Carrie Hope Fletcher in the title role, Cinderella is described as a “complete reinvention” of the classic fairy tale and is based on an original idea by Fennell.
I don’t think I have the words. And if I did, I would probably be advised not to say them. Sending love to everyone affected by today’s news and how this news was delivered. 💔
— Carrie Hope Fletcher (@CarrieHFletcher) May 1, 2022
It has been plagued by Covid-19-related disruptions since the first workshop in 2019 before being previewed in June 2021 with a reduced audience due to pandemic restrictions.
In a statement, Lord Lloyd-Webber previously said he was “incredibly proud” of the musical, adding: “Not only has it received some of the best reviews of my career, but we have led the charge to get the West End reopened and made sure to do so Theater and live entertainment remained relevant and in the news.
“While it has been an incredible challenge to put together a new show amid Covid, we have kept the Government’s feet on fire during their change of heart during the pandemic.”
He added, “Now I’m really excited to put together a new production with (production company) No Guarantees for Broadway.
“Thank you to everyone involved, especially our UK audience who loved and supported the show. See you on Broadway next March.”
Lord Lloyd-Webber’s Really Useful Group has been contacted for further comments.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/sudden-cinderella-closure-shows-lack-of-respect-for-theatre-workers-equity-41611733.html Sudden Cinderella Closure Shows ‘Lack Of Respect’ For Theater Staff – Justice