Actors and stage managers working in the West End will receive a 16% pay rise over two years, under new rates agreed by Equity and the Society of London Theatre.
The updated SOLT/Equity Agreement for West End Theatre Artists will run from April 2023 to April 2026, covering performers and stage managers.
It agrees an increase of at least 10% to minimum rates across all pay brackets year-on-year for the period of April 3, 2023, to March 31, 2024.
For the year beginning April 1, 2024, all pay brackets will increase by around 5% of the 2023-24 rate, marking a total increase of 16% over two years.
Rates for the final year of the agreement have yet to be calculated but they are set to increase in line with the consumer price index figure published by the Office for National Statistics in February 2025, plus 0.5%, subject to a minimum increase of 2% and a maximum of 5%, The Stage reported.
Equity had initially campaigned for a 17% pay rise in the first year of the agreement, with an additional rise of 10% in the second year.
The final new agreement will see rates of pay for performers and stage managers rise in line with theatre sizes, based on an eight-show minimum week with increased rates for 12-show weeks.
Rates for workers at theatres with a capacity of 1,100 or more will rise from £757.84 per week to £880.10 by April 2024.
Rates at theatres with a capacity of 800 to 1,099 will rise from £689.37 to £800.58 and rates at theatres with up to 799 seats will rise from £620.29 to £720.36.
The agreement also includes a 33% increase to swing fees of up to £120 a week and a 12.5% increase to dance captain fees up to £135 a week.
“Given the current economic difficulties facing both SOLT and Equity members, these negotiations were always going to be difficult and challenging,” said Robert Noble, chair of the SOLT negotiating committee.
“However, through constructive dialogue and a professional approach by all those involved in in the negotiation process, a settlement has been reached that acknowledges the commitment and support shown by Equity members during the pandemic and seeks to address, as far as is possible, the continuing economic challenge that we all continue to face.”
He added that the settlement has received “the very strong support of members of both organisations”.
Paul W. Fleming, General Secretary of Equity, said the “excellent deal” marks the start of a process that will see trials of a five-day rehearsal working week.
“Our strong, constructive, but robust industrial relations have delivered a meaningful shift in pay and conditions at a time of extraordinary pressure for bosses and workers alike,” he said.