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MU Celebrates Majority Female Orchestra in West End’s Largest Pit Band

Over 50% of players in the orchestra for Hello Dolly! at the London Palladium are women. The MU is delighted to see equal representation in what is currently the largest pit band in the West End, and hopes to see other bands following its example.

Photo ofJamie Pullman
By Jamie Pullman Published: 05 June 2024 | 3:18 PM
The outside of the London Palladium theatre.
Michael Harrison Entertainment’s production of Hello Dolly! at the London Palladium currently has the largest pit band in the West End with 20 players. Image credit: Shutterstock.

A new production of Hello Dolly! at the London Palladium currently has the largest pit band in the West End. It is also made up of more than 50% women.

Hello Dolly at the Palladium sets an encouraging example for gender equality in UK theatre

It’s not normal practice for us to give a shout out to a theatre producer.

However, in the case of Michael Harrison Entertainment’s production of Hello Dolly! at the London Palladium, we can make an exception.

Not only have they got the largest pit band currently in the West End with 20 players, they have also shown that it’s perfectly possible to hire an orchestra that is made up of more than 50% women.

Only a quarter of West End band musicians are women

The MU has been actively tracking the number of women in West End bands since 2017.

Women currently make up only a quarter of musicians, so when a show with the biggest pit band in the West End is made up of more than 50% women, it’s definitely a cause for celebration. 

We'll be keeping a close eye on other shows that open in the coming months to see if this encouraging example is replicated widely.

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The MU has a democratic structure and a community of over 34,000 members. We use this power to advocate for women and build a better music industry.

 

Advocating through Women Member Network

Our Women Member Network is a dedicated space where women from across the country can connect, network and make positive change across the MU and the music industry. The Network ensures that the voices of women are heard, and that opportunities for activism and leadership are created.

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