Covent Garden: It’s worse than they’re saying

Covent Garden: It’s worse than they’re saying


norman lebrecht

July 17, 2020

A mole at the Royal Opera House tells us that the 400 casual workers who have been sacked include music staff, along with ushers, front-of-house-greeters and restaurant workers. In addition, another 350 were not supported through furlough as their work was considered to be infrequent. So 750 have been dismissed so far with further redundancy processes being started for permanent staff across all departments.

Orchestra and Chorus remain on 80% salary. Royal Ballet dancers were taken off furlough this week and have been back on the barre.



  • CA says:

    Wow. Horrible. I just don’t have any other words.

  • Plush says:

    How greedy and cheap they are. A shaky organization.

  • Dave Rockwell says:

    I’ve heard regular coaches and language coaches who are freelance but paid PAYE were refused furlough, and promised a letter for the HMRC to allow them to get the SEISS grant.

    No letters were sent, and I can only imagine how tough life is for those individuals after 4 months with no income.

    • Pat says:

      No letters needed for SEISS. Govt write to you if you qualify based on your previous self assessment tax returns.

      • Edward says:

        but if you are self-employed, but paid PAYE, (usually not your choice) when you do your tax return, you have to enter this income in the ’employment’ section. This is the problem. As far as HMRC are concerned you would therefore be an employee and so entitled to furlough pay. But the institutions would not regard you as an employee and so you would not get furlough pay, and HMRC would not consider you eligible for SEISS. I know many freelance theatre workers that fall into this trap, many people who have not received a penny in government support. I know people in this situation that have spoken directly to HMRC to explain their situation but have been turned away.

        • Pat says:

          Yes….. but no “ letter” from ROH is going to change this…..

          • Edward says:

            if they were to inform HMRC that any such income is actually self-employed despite its location on the return, it might make them consider making this income eligible for SEISS when currently it isn’t. Might not make a difference, but worth a try.

    • Judith says:

      I think what you “ heard” makes little sense…. 2.3 million SEISS applications approved,it’s an automatic process based on previous years tax returns . No” letters” required!

  • Jackyt says:

    They seem to be in some disarray and communication from them has broken down. Have they given any indication when/if they will produce some sort of modified programme and booking procedure?

  • engineers_unite says:

    So goodbye to my daughter’s job then…

    It was the only hope for a lot of artists, students etc to pay for their studies….