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Keep Northern Ballet Music Live Campaign Spotlighted at Labour Party Conference

MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl raised Northern Ballet Sinfonia’s campaign to protect their touring work on the main Labour Party Conference stage, at fringe events and MP meetings.

Published: 10 October 2023 | 12:14 PM Updated: 10 October 2023 | 5:31 PM
Naomi appears on the large screen at the Labour Party conference, and stands in front of a panel
It is essential that Arts Council England and Northern Ballet agree a realistic funding solution that protects union jobs. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Musicians in the Northern Ballet Sinfonia are campaigning to protect their touring work.

It comes after Northern Ballet announced that they were being forced to consider getting rid of their live orchestra for some touring productions and replacing the musicians with recorded music due to a real terms funding cut.

Over 6,000 people have signed a petition calling on Arts Council England and Northern Ballet to get round the table and agree a realistic funding solution.

Sign the petition now

Are you at Labour Party Conference? Stop by the union's stand in the exhibition hall to show your support.

More than a decade of real terms funding cuts

MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl highlighted the issue at Labour Party Conference. Speaking at a rally of Labour affiliated trade unions, she said:

“Our orchestra members at Northern Ballet, they used to have 20 weeks of work a year. Now they're looking at three or four weeks of work a year. They're going to foodbanks to survive. This is an absolutely outrageous situation and it's been caused by a Tory government underfunding the arts for at least a decade.”

Speaking in the main conference hall, she added: “We need to see a fair deal for musicians and creatives and artists who work so hard, but just don't get the reward for the work.”

Naomi also raised Northern Ballet Sinfonia's campaign in meetings with MPs, where she also spoke about pay cuts at Royal Opera House, measures to make touring in the EU easier, and protecting freelancers from sexual harassment at work.

Keep Northern Ballet music live

It is essential that Arts Council England and Northern Ballet agree a realistic funding solution that protects union jobs and enables everyone to have access to live ballet that is genuinely live.

Please sign the petition and leave a message of support for the musicians in Northern Ballet's orchestra

Watch Naomi's speech in full

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Take Part in the MU’s New Survey on Touring in the EU Post Brexit

Your answers are key to helping us assess the impact leaving the EU has had on touring musicians, and if our specialist information and guidance has been useful or needs improving. Your feedback is also vital in shaping our work when liaising with government.

Published: 03 April 2024

Read more about Take Part in the MU’s New Survey on Touring in the EU Post Brexit