Dancers for Royal Opera ‘being paid less than box office staff’

10 November 2014, 11:50 | Updated: 11 November 2014, 11:28

A performers’ union is claiming that the Royal Opera is paying dancers rehearsing for a forthcoming production less than box office staff.

The Equity Freelance Dance Network is demanding a meeting with Covent Garden chiefs to discuss the low rates of pay for the upcoming production of Król Roger, a rarely-performed opera by the Polish composer Szymanowski.

It’s claimed that freelance dancers are being offered £9.14 per hour for rehearsals, while those selling the tickets get £10.70.

The union has written an open letter to opera bosses, which says, "this seems highly disproportionate."

"The minimum amount offered to dancers at Royal Opera House (ROH), and Opera in general, shows a huge disparity and a lack of value when compared to the other work that freelancers carry out,” the letter says.

"So the question everyone asks is; why are we not paid above or at least equal to that amount when working for one of the largest, most heavily subsidised arts organisations in the country? Particularly when compared to the wages of other artists working on any given opera."

A spokesperson for the Royal Opera House confirmed that it is in discussion with Equity over rates of pay for freelance dancers and actors.  

"We hope to reach a mutually agreeable solution as soon as possible."