Cinderella: Row intensifies over cancelled Andrew Lloyd Webber musical as protesters gather outside theatre

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Members of the actor’s union Equity have called for a change to theatre industry practices, as they protest against the closure of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella.

On Sunday (1 May), it was announced that Lloyd Webber and Emerald Fennell’s original musical would be coming to an end on 12 June, less than a year after it first opened.

A cast changeover had been due to take place on 17 July, with the original cast to be replaced by an entirely new ensemble.

While the current cast were reportedly told in person on Sunday that the show would be ending early, some members of the incoming cast claimed that they learned the news via press release or on social media.

One new ensemble member, Daisy Blanche Wells, went viral on TikTok after sharing a video of the moment she told her mum she had been cast in the since-cancelled show.

On Tuesday (3 May), around 60 people attended a protest outside the Gillian Lynne Theatre organised by Equity.

Speaking to The Stage, an anonymous member of the cast and crew said that the closure had been “abrupt”.

“I’m not surprised, but it’s just like, what now?” they said. “Something will come up, but it’s just another sense of upheaval.”

Also attending the protest, The Mousetrap actor Nicola Blackman called the handling of Cinderella’s closure “absolutely outrageous”, adding that producers needed to “let people know and keep it transparent. Tell them in advance before it hits social media”.

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical actor Joseph Richardson said it was “laughable… unfair and unreasonable” that cast members had found out via social media on a Bank Holiday Sunday.

In a statement shared on Tuesday (3 May), Equity said that “all creative workers deserve to be treated with dignity at work”.

Equity president Maureen Beattie attends the protest at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (Getty Images)
Equity president Maureen Beattie attends the protest at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (Getty Images)

“In addition, new cast and stage management had recently been hired and were due to start work soon,” they wrote. “These performers had planned their lives around what they thought was going to be their next job, including expected future earnings, accommodation arrangements and even turning down other work.

“That they have been told they have lost this work now, points to the long running precarity of the entertainment industry, perpetuated by poor management and a lack of respect for our members – which is why Equity is fighting for better working rights across the sector.”

The union is demanding that Lloyd Webber’s production company Really Useful Group provide compensation to both current and future cast members, as well as individually informing cast members at a more considerate time in the future and telling Equity before releasing news to the press.

The Independent has contacted Lloyd Webber’s representatives for comment.