Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Angry Actors Still Waiting for Wages after Panto Farce

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Angry Actors Still Waiting for Wages after Panto Farce

Article excerpt

Byline: Kathryn Riddell Reporter

DISGRUNTLED actors have lifted the lid on the troubled Times Square pantomime and revealed why they walked out of the final performances.

Cast and crew members say they are still owed payment for their work on the Jack and the Beanstalk show which was plagued by problems from the start.

Trouble flared behind the scenes during rehearsals, with the loss of leading lady Denise Welch just hours before the first show.

Then, when the performers say they were told their final payments would be 'delayed', some refused to go on stage and the last two shows were cancelled.

The company NS Pantomimes announced last week that it had become insolvent and was seeking legal action to recoup cash it claims Denise Welch was given in advance in order to pay workers.

But entertainer Stephen Sullivan claimed the battle to be paid began long before the final week.

"The first week we were paid absolutely fine. After that on numerous occasions I had to chase my wage.

"At one point I was given it cash in hand because I said I literally will not carry on unless I have been paid.

"We didn't get advances like the stars. As jobbing actors you rely on that money."

At one point a representative from the entertainment union Equity was brought in and tried to get the performances pushed back, it was claimed.

Stephen, 31, who played villain Fleshcreep, claimed there was no heating during rehearsals in December and the cast had to go to a nearby bar to use the toilet.

Dancer Karleigh Wright stepped in after Denise left the show.

The 28-year-old, from Jarrow, says she was told the night before the first show she would have to step into Denise's shoes as Mother Nature.

Because of the last-minute replacement, Karleigh says she had to take the script on stage, hidden by Mother Nature's "magic book". …

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