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Theatre Section

The Theatre Section liaises with theatre-based musicians, producers, theatre venues, councils and government to ensure that rights, ranging from pay to working conditions, adhere to the MU-negotiated UK Theatre Agreements. 

Last updated: 19 April 2021

Chiefly focused on the UK’s touring musicians (there’s a dedicated sub-Committee and separate Agreement for London’s West End musicians) the Theatre Section is a true democracy, with up to 20 industry-hardened MU members on the Committee and getting involved with duties ranging from negotiating with producers to lobbying local councils. At the core of the Section’s wide remit is improving and enforcing the UK Theatre Agreement that sets out the minimum terms under which touring and static regional theatre show musicians may be employed. 

Apart from covering pay in agreements, we negotiate terms and benefits too, such as pension provision, health and safety, sick pay and family-friendly allowances.  

The Theatre Section is driven by feedback from musicians on the ground, and MU Officials regularly visit venues, meet informally with players and identify issues as they arise. If parties don’t honour the Agreement, the MU can act. 

When bigger issues arise, the Theatre Section wields an influence beyond local jurisdiction. For example, the European legislation on lighting regulations would have had a devastating effect on the theatre sector and we were able to help with that. Westminster wanted to change its parking regulations and charge people up until midnight, which would have had a massive effect on our members, so we lobbied hard. We had demonstrations, the West End bands came out and supported us, and in the end, we were able to overturn it and Westminster didn’t impose those charges. If that happened around the country, we’d do the same thing. 

MU members needn’t pay any additional fees to benefit from the work of the Theatre Section. It’s about making sure theatre musicians are getting the right pay and providing help if musicians need it. There’s also support for health and safety, including mental health and wellbeing.  

Theatre Section Committee

The Theatre Section and MU officials are reliant on the Theatre Section Committee, and we are always looking for theatre-based musicians who want to help shape the future of their industry.  

It’s important that the musicians are in the room with the officials, telling the producers about their experiences. 

If you are a MU member who has worked under our UK Theatre Agreement and are willing to help us affect change for good, get in touch.  

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