Playwrights receive minimum fee rise under UK Theatre Agreement

Playwrights minimum fee increasePlaywrights who are members of the Writers Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) are to receive a minimum fee increase following successful union negotiations.

Under WGGB’s UK Theatre Agreement, playwrights will receive a 10% rise in minimum fees, with 6% backdated to 1 May 2023 and a further 4% from 1 May.

The UK Theatre Agreement’s banding system groups theatres into three categories known as middle-range salary level. The increase means that for writers of a commissioned play that has been accepted by a theatre, minimum fees will now be £2,591.30, £2,071.16 and £2,071.16. They also receive payments in signature of contract and on first delivery of the play.

This follows a 6% minimum fee increase for writers working under the TNC agreement, which covers the National Theatre, Royal Court and Royal Shakespeare Company. This was applied from April 2023.

According to WGGB, it has minimum terms agreements that apply to all UK writers because no contract can be less favourable to the playwright, though writers or their agents can negotiate better terms. Negotiations between WGGB and theatre management body the Independent Theatre Council are still ongoing.

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Ellie Peers, general secretary for WGGB, said: “Playwrights are at the heart of our world-renowned theatre sector. Their voices – and the stories they tell – are more important than they have ever been, as we face uncertainty and other challenges on a national and global scale. The theatre sector itself has been facing unprecedented arts funding cuts and the continued fallout from the pandemic, yet it is vital that it continues to invest in playwrights and to recognise their valuable economic and artistic worth.

“I am therefore delighted that our union negotiating teams – including working writers – have been able to achieve these significant uplifts in minimum fees which will apply to a large number of playwrights working in the UK. We have produced a rights card which explains the rights which UK playwrights are entitled to under our agreements.”