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Freelance Dancers' wage negotiations: What’s happening?

A joint statement from the Royal Opera House and Equity.

By Sally O'Neill (Chief Operating Officer)

10 November 2014 at 3.28pm | 1 Comment

It has been reported in the media that the Royal Opera House is in dispute with Equity over rates of pay for freelance dancers and actors who appear in productions by The Royal Opera. To clarify, these are not negotiations about rates of pay for the dancers of The Royal Ballet, the negotiations currently taking place are part of the routine negotiations concerning rates of pay for freelance actors working with The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet, and for freelance dancers working with The Royal Opera.

In the statement issued to media by the Equity Freelance Dance Network they mention the rate of pay of some box office staff at the Royal Opera House. Rates of pay differ across the Royal Opera House for numerous groups of staff doing a diverse range of jobs. We believe that all theatre staff and artists are part of a collective process in producing the very best opera and ballet in the world, and all have a role to play in making this happen.

Equity – Hilary Hadley, Head of Live Performance:

'In advance of our negotiations with ROH we asked our freelance dance network for their feedback so that we could report on their opinions during negotiations. Unfortunately this request was made more public than was our intention and dancers’ concerns have been picked up by the press. We regret this as we do not want to harm our good relations with the ROH. However we do feel strongly that the issue of low pay for actors and dancers at the ROH does need urgently addressing and we are confident that we can work with the ROH to achieve this.'

By Sally O'Neill (Chief Operating Officer)

10 November 2014 at 3.28pm

This article has been categorised Off stage and tagged Dancers, Equity, pay

This article has 1 comment

  1. Dr Goubert responded on 13 November 2014 at 3:01pm Reply

    I visit the ROH regularly as a spectator. As an avid lover of ballet (I am Russian by origin with years of watching ballet and opera in the Bolshoj Theatre in Moscow where I was born and lived most of my life) I believe and I know that everybody is part of a successful performance including box office staff but we really need to be honest and admit that the hard work of the dancers on stage is what ultimately creates that magic that we as spectators come to watch. We were appalled to read in one of the recent publications that young freelance ROH dancers are paid about £7.00 an hour. How could one expect them to flourish and produce their best? All talent must be rewarded appropriately. ROH dancers cannot be subjected to such humiliation because that is what it is. Do not compare the salaries - that is unacceptable; we are talking about intrinsically different roles in a theater that should be rewarded accordinglre

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