A new fringe theatre is launching above a pub on Upper Street in Islington promising to pay all staff a 'legal wage'.
The 50-seat Hope Theatre will be launched in November by artistic director Adam Spreadbury-Maher, who also founded the now-closed Cock Tavern in Kilburn and currently runs the King's Head Theatre up the road from The Hope.
According to press material, the new venue "will host world premiere work across new writing for theatre, musical theatre and opera, and will explore different ways to work on the London Fringe in a sustainable and ethical way.
"Although The Hope Theatre receives no public subsidy, it opens with an in-house agreement with Equity, the UK's largest performers union, already in place, and everyone who works there will be paid a legal wage."
The venue, situated above the Hope and Anchor Pub at 207 Upper Street, opens with two plays that were seen at this year's Edinburgh Fringe. Sandpits Avenue and League of St George will run as a double bill from 5 to 30 November 2013.
Next up, from 3 to 31 December, is Ushers: The Front of House Musical, which follows "a shift in the lives of the stagiest people the audience never sees; the front of house staff". The production is written by Yiannis Koutsakos (music & lyrics), James Oban (lyrics) and James Rottger (book).
Spreadbury-Maher said: "The future of fringe theatre is in our hands, and the King's Head has decided to try an experiment whereby we can produce new writing in an environment where companies aren't obligated to a weekly rent to the venue and are given an opportunity to pay their actors and stage management a basic but legal wage – it's an experiment, I hope it works."
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