A major entertainment union has reached out to touch the Old Vic again. The issue; unpaid workers. Looks like there are concerns that the Old Vic Tunnels recruits unpaid actors for visiting companies. And these companies of course have a legal obigation to pay their actors and other workers.
The companies involved have been telling those of us making enquiries that they are exempt under Section 44 of the NMW regulations. They are not exempt. The Section 44 exemption only applies to registered charities in certain circumstances. And these companies are not charities registered with the Charities Commission.
You can look a charities structure, aims and accounts on the Chaities commission website. In fact let’s do that now for THE OLD VIC THEATRE TRUST 2000.
There are lots of other interesting things you can learn about the Old Vic. They spent more than £500k on their education program but little of it went to the actors working in the Tunnels. Fascinating to learn the stated purpose of the Tunnels program
So the Old Vic Tunnels exploits unpaid actors to lead audiences to their mainstage. All this in aid of their overall aims:
So how does undermining actors’ wages and draining paying audiences from other London theatres achieve those aims? At the expenses of the artists and the workers in the theatre? By undermining pay and conditions? By selecting actors based on their ability to work for free instead of their talent and skill?
You have to remember that the OLD VIC is leading the way straight down; using it’s charity status not to pay actors. Last year it was probably the biggest employer of unpaid actors in London, and tried to censor Actors Minimum Wage for calling them out. They refuse to answer for the exploitation of their interns or their actors.
Now the Old Vic is using it’s OVNV and TOLT network and publicity machine to recruit unpaid actors and other workers for companies performing shows in association with TOVT in the Tunnels space. Most of these companies that are not registered charities and have no exemption from section 44. Where will the Old Vic end?
This is not how a responsible charity behaves. Shame on you, Old Vic.