Ensemble actors in the West End have criticized the capital’s theaters over low wages, saying they are ‘poorly paid’.
Current Moulin Rouge cast member Jason Leigh Winter posted on Twitter that he was dismayed at the prospect of ‘living in our ***hole’ despite being under full-time contract with the hit West End show.
He wrote: ‘Is it just that theater is paid so little in London? When the cost of everything is rising so much but our rate of pay is not at par with that, how are we really going to live? I should not live as a *** hole or flat share at the age of 34.’
He added: ‘People shouldn’t be looking for multiple jobs on top of a full-time show contract.’
The average cost of top-price West End tickets reached £140.85 this year – an increase of 21.3 per cent on 2019.
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Jason Leigh Winter, 34, who is currently starring in the Moulin Rouge at London’s Piccadilly Theatre, tweeted that many actors have ‘multiple jobs’ (Picture: Winter with fellow star Honey Joseph)
The actor currently plays Dance Captain at London’s Piccadilly Theater in the show based on Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film.
Winter noticed that her tweet sparked a flood of responses from similarly frustrated performers, many saying that Broadway, New York’s theater district, treats performers more fairly when it comes to pay.
MailOnline has contacted trade union Equity of the Performing Arts and Entertainment Industry in the UK for comment.
@KimNicky replied: ‘I’ve never understood why London theater pay, especially in the West End, wasn’t the same as the pay rates on Broadway.’
Winter replied: ‘It’s not even close! Like laughing less.
Kendra Winter, pictured in the Moulin Rouge, said low wages for London’s theater workers meant many could only afford flat shares despite staying in their profession for long periods of time.
Another actor said he turned down a role at a top theater because the pay was not high enough.
@sambmackay said: ‘Recently WestEnd’s return to the Bucket List location had to be called off for this reason.
‘Loved live theater dearly but finding it hard to justify leaving other avenues of work for 8 show weeks on low pay to pay for living and traveling in London. Really sad.
Talent manager Jonathan Shalit, who has guided the careers of stars including Charlotte Church, Katherine Jenkins and Dame Joan Collins, told MailOnline that theaters are under immense financial pressure at the moment.
Jonathan Shalit, who has represented people such as Cher, Charlotte Church and Sir Elton John, said theater rents needed to be reduced to help actors be paid more fairly (July 2022 in London featured)
‘It is a very serious condition indeed and makes it impossible for some actors to stay in the profession or not need another role.
‘The fees payable mean that when their annual salary is considered most actors earn less through acting than the London Living Wage. The tragedy here is that there isn’t much that can be done to change this, as most theater makers don’t have the profit margin to pay more.
‘What I find to be unfairly disproportionate is the amount of money paid in theater rent, it should be reduced and distributed fairly to the actors. We would have nothing without actors!’
In June last year it was revealed that the average cost of the most expensive West End tickets has risen by a fifth as theaters make up for losses after closing during the pandemic.
The musical cabaret topped the charts for the most expensive top-price ticket – with audiences paying over £300.
According to The Stage Trade Journal’s annual ticketing survey, 2022 also saw the highest number of seats in commercial theaters costing more than £100.
The average cost of the most expensive West End tickets has risen by a fifth post-pandemic. Cabaret, which last year won seven Olivier Awards including best actor and best actress in a musical for Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley (pictured), was the most expensive musical
Seats reaching record-breaking prices were found in 28 theaters, accounting for 80 percent of productions in commercial theaters.
New productions have driven prices up – top-priced tickets for longer-running plays actually fell over the same period.
Wicked’s top ticket fell by £58, while Hamilton and The Book of Mormon tickets each fell by £50.
A Society of London Theater spokesman said at the time that top ticket prices were affected by ‘a small number of high-profile shows’ and ‘fluctuate from year to year’.
In May last year, spectators condemned ticket prices for Cock, who was not included in the survey, with seats selling for £400, plus a £60 processing fee.
Producers of the drama starring Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey defended the astronomical prices for the play’s 13-week limited run, citing ‘supply and demand’.
In 2022, West End plays will see a steep rise in prices compared to musicals, with the most expensive ticket increasing by up to 40% compared to 3.5% for musicals
West End plays saw huge increases in prices compared to musicals, with the most expensive tickets increasing by up to 40 percent, compared to 3.5 percent for musicals. To Kill a Mockingbird had the most expensive top price play ticket at the Gielgud Theater at £199.50.
Cabaret, which won seven Olivier Awards this year, including Best Actor in a Musical and Best Actress in a Musical for Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley, was the most expensive musical, with top seats coming in at £303.80.
The cheapest tickets have seen a comparatively low increase of 3.3 per cent since 2019 – the average is now £22.56, up from £21.84. Dear Evan Hansen offered the best deal in the West End with the cheapest ticket, a limited-view seat, coming in at £7.50.
The survey was based on the 50 theater venues eligible for the main category Olivier Awards for their top and lowest price tickets on the evening of June 25, 2022.
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