I posted this on my Facebook wall in August last year, and I feel like maybe it stands to talk about it again. I’m hearing of pretty appalling pay rates during Adelaide Fringe. Variety nights and small capacity shows are one thing, but I’m hearing pretty shocking pay rates for shows that have large capacities and are selling very well. Don’t be afraid to demand what you’re worth.
21st August, 2014
“I don’t normally write this sort of thing but I feel compelled to do so: I am hearing about (and being offered) lower and lower pay rates for shows in SA. This is just my opinion – but if a show is being billed as a professional show with professional performers then those performers need to be paid a fair rate. Shows billed as amateur in my opinion are a different matter because they are being promoted as such and there are different expectations from both the performers and the audience.
The more that performers continue to accept sub-standard pay rates the more this will be taken advantage of, and rates will go further down as new performers come in and accept even lower rates. In my opinion if a producer can’t afford to pay the performers a decent rate they shouldn’t be producing the show. Accepting low pay rates also means that performers who make most of their living from this (such as myself) can’t get any work as I refuse to lower myself below my minimum pay rate.
Performers, I implore you to really consider what your time is worth. It’s not just the three minutes you are on stage. How much did your costume cost you in time (if you made it) and money? How long does it take you to do your hair and makeup? How much does your makeup cost? How much will parking cost you? How many hours did you spend conceptualising and rehearsing your routine? How much have you spent on training? A rate of $20 (this is the lowest I have heard recently) for an act does not even remotely cover those costs. (edit – I’ve been hearing of $50/$60 rates for several performances in a show during Fringe. Maybe it’s just me but I think that’s horrendous)
We need to stand together – your time is worth more. I know it is the love of performing that drives most of us and not the money, but I have seen this happen in other scenes where now there is next to no work and sub-standard shows because everyone is performing for next to nothing. I love the SA scene and I want to see it grow and prosper. How are we supposed to continue to innovate and create if our work is undervalued?
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and even if you don’t agree with me I hope this can prompt some discussion about this issue. Love Luna x
PS – of course, I understand there are some exceptions to the rule and if performing in the gig benefits you in a real and tangible way then sometimes a lower pay rate is warranted, but I think this is about 10% of the time.”