Society of London Theatres (SOLT) and Equity have reached a new deal to support actors during the current suspension of West End shows.
The new agreement will help those appearing in long-running shows, limited-run productions, those yet to open and shows still in rehearsals in the West End. Under new rules, casts will continue on existing contracts and will be able to recommence rehearsals/performances for revised dates once theatres re-open – in effect providing the best possible framework for ensuring West End-based actors will still have a job once theatres re-open.
For almost a month now, stages across the UK have been shut with performances cancelled.
Hilary Hadley, head of Equity's Live Performance department, said: "It is only by our closely working together that we have managed to develop this Agreement, which provides a route map for our West End producers, performers and stage management. It is our joint hope that this new Agreement will see the West End Theatre industry through this bleakest period and enable the smooth resumption of the rehearsals and performances which were so abruptly stopped by COVID-19."
It is unknown when exactly theatres will re-open, with SOLT and Equity continuing to lobby for further freelancer support during shutdowns – particularly those not helped by the government's existing support schemes for the self-employed.