Theatre skills shortages at a ‘tipping point’

The Stage recently picked up on Bectu’s research around skills shortages in theatre [£], in which they quoted us saying that, unless long and unsocial working hours were addressed, the skills shortage in the industry would reach a “tipping point”.

They quoted Head of Bectu, Philippa Childs, saying…

“Our latest survey shows these issues continue to bite for the sector’s workers and are all the more concerning in the context of a cost-of-living crisis that shows no signs of waning soon.

“It’s particularly concerning that the industry seems to have missed the opportunity for a reset presented by the pandemic, with more than half of respondents reporting their work-life balance has worsened.”

Childs said that many theatre workers were “at breaking point” and “the industry cannot expect them to remain ‘for the love of the job’ when there is better pay and better-balanced working lives to be found elsewhere”.

She added: “For too long, it is workers who have suffered at the hands of a damaging ‘the show must go on’ mentality. The sector must urgently professionalise its approach to recruitment, skills development and retention if it is to remain fit for purpose for a modern society.”

It comes as no surprise today to see that, according to Stage Directors UK [£], almost a third of stage directors are “seriously considering” leaving the industry, according to a landmark study that warns of “terrible” pay and “unethical practices” in the sector.

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