|Issue No 22||16 July 1999|
Buddy’s Buddy Still Singing Blues
When performer Jonathon Mill landed a plum role in the Buddy Holly musical he never expected to end up $6,000 out of pocket when the promoters pulled the plug.
But that's what happened to Mill and hundreds of other performers who have suffered a similar fate to the Oakdale miners.
The long-running production toured all Australian capital cities and was seen by over one million people in the early nineites. But in 1992 the promoter "The Buddy Holly Production Company" went into liquidation.
"The first thing we knew the receivers were back-stage telling us the company was now in receviership." Mill recalls. This was despite the performers' own calculations that the show had made at least $8 million in the two years.
The performers, members of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, picketed the auditions for the next season of Buddy; the rights to which had been sold off as part of the receivership process, under the catchcry "where's the money?.
Nearly a decade later, the money has still not appeared, and a string of other shows have met a similar fate. Peter Pan, Gypsey and Turn to Sing are just some of the shows that have bitten the dust.
"It's a widespread problem," says Mill. "A $2 company sets up to promote a show, it goes bankrupt and the performers are left with nothing, often having spent weeks in rehearsals and pre-production."
"Performers would feel a lot of sympathy for the Oakdale miners; hundreds of Australian performers have been left owing what they have earnt.
In a nice twist, Mill is now working with the Maritime Union of Australia to develop a theatrical production around the Ships of Shame issue.
Sound of Music Update
Meanwhile, performers in The Sound of Music and Chicago are awaiting an Australian Industrial relations Commission hearing to resolve their dispute over payements between seasons of the shows.
The performers have threatened to walk out if promoter Gordon Frost does not pay them for lay-off time between the Sydney and Melbourne seasons.
In an industry first, the promoters are offering performers separate contracts for the two seasons rather than the standard single contract which provides for the gap in runs.
A report back to AIRC senior deputy president Colin Polites is scheduled for August 9.
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Unions: The Shaw Plan
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005