Designers Fees in Theatre Survey


A message from Peter Mumford.  

Regardless of whether you are a member of Equity or not, I’m appealing to all our design members to fill out the current survey that Equity have issued regarding designers’ fees  Designers Fees in Theatre Survey (  The survey is available until Friday 3rd December. 

The ALD and now the ALPD have been negotiating for better and more successful representation with Equity for many years (decades actually) but now it does seem that the ALPD is receiving the acknowledgement it deserves. One of the main gripes has been the Equity minimum rates document which is negotiated with SOLT and UK theatres and has a dramatic effect on the kind of fee offers that we receive as a starting point for negotiation - regardless of whether one works via an agent or not.

The figures published would be a joke if it were not for the fact that some producers, especially at the lower budgetary end of the spectrum choose to use those figures as a negotiating point and force designers (and their agents) to accept unreasonable fees. It’s particularly relevant for emerging designers but it actually affects us all. The design fee recommendations published by the ALPD instantly show the chasm of difference. The ALPD figures are established by our own confidential survey. 

Now finally Equity has agreed to take its own survey of fees for both lighting designers and stage/costume designers with a view to substantially revising the Equity ‘minimums’ and insisting that producers accept these new figures as starting points for new negotiations. Equity has agreed that the current minimum fees they quote are a long way under par. 

This is a massive victory potentially but will only mean anything if we ALL take part regardless of whether you are an ‘established’ designer or just starting out. Plotting your fees from 2018 is a bit of a chore but the ramifications will be enormous and the failure to do so will result in undermining years of work and the ambitions of us all. 

Whatever our feelings or opinions, Equity is the U.K.union for theatre designers of all disciplines - it’s up to us to help create a strong union that will defend our rights, conditions, equality and pay.

As lighting designers we now have three representatives on the Directors & Designers Committee: Zoe Spurr, Jason Addison and Jamie Platt.  We should be proud of this and support both their efforts and our aspirations.

Please, please fill in this survey even if it’s not every single production you contributed to - it’s important, and then when you see the results of all these years of work involving many individuals who continue to work for the ALPD perhaps you will consider making Equity your union and giving us all the strength we need to improve things.