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Stage Door

Photo by Pamela Raith

Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre Publish Major Workforce Study

Published 22 June 2017

Stage Door

Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre (UKT) have published research which assess the current and future needs of the UK’s world-leading theatre and performing arts sector workforce. SOLT and UKT commissioned Nordicity and Alistair Smith, editor of The Stage, to undertake the research

The report highlighted a number of key challenges which include:

A workforce that is passionate and engaged, but struggling with issues of low pay and a lack of investment in skills development, particularly with freelance contracts.

An organisational culture that must become more open to talent and skills from new areas, to long-term commitment to professional development and to flexible working practices.

A workforce that is currently unrepresentative of the public, with low numbers of people from black, ethnic and minority backgrounds and very low numbers of disabled people.

Shortage of skilled technical workers (including in lighting and automation) and senior managers (especially outside London), and in areas such as marketing and finance.

Julian Bird, Chief Executive of SOLT and UK Theatre said: “We are rightly proud in the UK of our dynamic and world leading theatre industry. For the sector to continue to thrive in ten or twenty years’ time, we need to make sure that we have the right skills in place and are attracting the right diverse mix of people. This report gives us a roadmap to work with Government and employers, and on behalf of the industry, to address the requirements of our growing workforce.”

In response to the report, SOLT and UK Theatre will establish a consortium of sector bodies and skills providers including employers (both commercial and not for profit) across the industry, sector bodies such as Creative and Cultural Skills and the new National College for Creative and Cultural Skills, and drawing from the education and union organisations to help address the challenges raised. Additionally, UK Theatre will review its training programme, offering new courses and renewing its existing offer. The Theatre Development Trust will support this initiative with seed funding.

You can read the full report at


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