Labour leader Miliband wants to axe unpaid internships
Oddsocks Productions have spoken out in support of Ed Miliband’s pledge to axe unpaid internships if Labour is successful in this month’s general election. In response to Labour’s pledge to make it illegal for companies to offer unpaid work placements of longer than four weeks, Oddsocks said in a statement that they ‘feel that this is a good length of time to assess whether an intern is suitable to take on and be paid a living wage’.
Former intern Bethan Nash starring as Ophelia
Oddsocks said they are ‘leading the way above others in the industry’ regarding internships, citing their appointment of Bethan Nash as an intern in 2011. Encouraged by Oddsocks’ artistic director Andy Barrow to audition during her internship so as to add to her experience, Nash was given the role of Ophelia in the company’s three-month touring production of Hamlet The Comedy. She went on to star in their production of Macbeth, and then took up a place to study at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
For more information about Oddsocks, visit www.oddsocks.co.uk/theatre.
Unicorn Theatre, who specialise in performance and education programmes for children, has suspended its internship programme after consulting with Arts Council England (ACE). The position of communications intern had previously been listed on their website as a ‘voluntary placement’. The advert said the role would last between three to six months, with volunteers being asked to work up to five days a week, and expenses of up to £200 a month offered.
ACE advises that if interns are of ‘worker status’: taking part in substantial tasks and activities, they should be paid the minimum wage. After discussions between Unicorn and ACE, the theatre decided to suspend all internships.
A spokesman for Unicorn Theatre told The Stage: ‘Following further discussions, the theatre is now suspending this scheme in advance of the Arts Council’s new grant programme, to create paid opportunities for young people looking to start a career in the cultural sector.’
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