Fighting Fund - Equity has sent out a warning to theatre management that members are prepared to strike in order to secure better conditions, revealing the union now has a £1m fund to support workers taking part in industrial action. Addressing members at this year’s Equity conference, general secretary Paul W Fleming said not listening to the union would have a "serious consequence".
In his speech, Fleming listed the recent successes of the union, including securing a new pantomime agreement, and claimed "pay has risen in real terms every decade on the West End for over 50 years". Fleming said staff had "negotiated like never before, and organised like never before" and described Equity as a "powerful industrial union".
He said the union had "literally put our money where our mouth is" with a strike fund - used by unions to support members who would not otherwise be able to take part in strike action for financial reasons - now worth £1 million. "Bosses beware, we now have a £1 million strike fund and we’re not afraid to use it," he said.
On The Run - The West End production of Bonnie and Clyde - the Musical will tour the UK and Ireland in 2024. The show will open at Curve in Leicester in February 2024, then visit Manchester, Glasgow, Nottingham, Belfast, Edinburgh and Dublin, with further dates and casting to be announced. Bonnie and Clyde - the Musical has a score by Frank Wildhorn, lyrics by Don Black and a book by Ivan Menchell, and focuses on American outlaws and folk heroes Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. This touring production is directed and choreographed by Nick Winston, designed by Philip Witcomb, and produced by DLAP Group.
Foo Fighters - US rock band the Foo Fighters have unveiled their new drummer, following the death of Taylor Hawkins last year. In a live stream, the band announced that Josh Freese, a long-time friend of singer Dave Grohl, will join them on their forthcoming world tour. Freese has played for a variety of top acts around the world including Devo, Guns N' Roses, Sting and The Vandals. The band previously said they would continue performing after Hawkins died in March 2022 at the age of 50. Freese's first show with Foo Fighters will take place in New Hampshire on Wednesday, the opening leg of a global tour that will run until the autumn.
Euro Chart - Four songs from the Eurovision Song Contest have charted in the UK top 10 simultaneously for the first time. Loreen's Tattoo, which won the 2023 competition for Sweden, scored this week's highest new entry at number two. Finland's Cha Cha Cha by Käärijä, which placed second in the contest, landed at number six, becoming the first fully-Finnish language song to chart. I Wrote a Song by the UK's Mae Muller and Queen of the Kings by Norway's Alessandra reached numbers nine and 10.
Euro Bonus - The Eurovision Song Contest generated nearly £20m in extra revenue for a retail complex. Liverpool One said it saw an additional spend of £19.9m in comparison with the same period in 2022, a rise it said of 23%. Footfall increased by 31.5% with an estimated 680,000 visits to the complex between 7 May and 13 May.
Rock On - A blue plaque has been unveiled at Bristol Hippodrome to mark the spot where Eddie Cochran performed his last ever gig. The American Rock and Roll star was just 21 when he performed there. On the final night of his residency he was travelling back to Heathrow to catch a flight home to America when he was killed in a car crash. He died from the injuries he sustained in the crash just outside Chippenham on 17 April 1960. A memorial is already in place at the spot where he was fatally injured.
(Jim Evans)
23 May 2023

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