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Just in: Musicians’ Union steps in over Arts Council’s slave-waged players

Our circulation of an ACE advertisement earlier today has drawn prompt action from the Musicians Union, which finds that the wages being offered to players in the job offer are less than half the minimum wage. The MU has taken up the matter with the Kings Head Theatre, Islington. ‘The MU will be speaking to them in the strongest terms,‘ it says.

Wrong target. It needs to castigate the ACE for promoting the slave wage jobs.

Meantime, the ‘world famous’ singer whom the musicians are being booked to accompany has been identified as the US tenor Charles Castronovo. World famous?

charles castronovo

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  1. It sounds as though he has become a counter-tenor fairly recently

  2. Ben Byram-Wigfield says:

    The theatre have added a statement to the bottom of the advert.

    However, I think you need to clarify your post. The National Minimum Wage is £6.19, so saying the fee is half the minimum wage is unclear. The MU says “half what they should be”.

  3. Elisabeth Meister says:

    Charlie IS world famous. And an incredibly decent guy. I’m sure he’d be horrified to learn what’s going on.

  4. World famous? Yes he is. He is very well known both in America and Europe, very much admired and has sung in most major opera houses worldwide (maybe all – do not quote me) and do look at the list of engagements at his website The Metropolitan Opera Audience certainly approved of his Don Giovanni performance in December. A roar – not just an applause. To my best knowledge, he is not a counter tenor.

  5. Norman, it’s a shame that you didn’t find space in your post to mention that the ACE jobs board is a tremendous resource and service for many companies that simply can’t afford to pay the ridiculous amounts charged by newspapers etc to advertise arts jobs. It is an open board that, inevitably, will have some companies pushing the limits of acceptable pay offers (you didn’t mention that a huge number of positions posted on the board are actually voluntary or unpaid internships). But on the whole it’s a good place for people to go to seek work, and for companies to reach a wide range of jobseekers looking to get a foot into the arts.

    Whatever you might think about the salaries (or lack of them) offered, I really don’t think you can honestly say that ACE is PROMOTING them, any more than someone commenting on Slipped Disc with an extreme opinion is being promoted by you. It’s a free resource, albeit with the usual online rules.

    Your opinion of ACE should not make you blind to the positive sides of such ventures.

  6. Such actions by a group to take advantage of musicians desire to perform should be championed against! I applaud ACE in their efforts, and I am glad you brought this to our attention. For too long, the artistic side of society has been tread upon, with little to no recognition given to the one aspect that actually defines a society. Venues plan on making a killing off of the musicians hard work and practice, it is only fair that they demand fair wages for their highly trained and skill based profession.

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