Members of staff of the west end production, Movies & Musicals, are set to go unpaid following the production company behind its creation plunging into liquidation. Losing out on a speculated tens of thousands of pounds, performers and musicians are incensed at the lack of organisation and furtive manner in which events played out.
Movies and Musicals, produced by M and M Associate productions, starred Louise Dearman, Pop Idol winner Gareth Gates and John Owen-Jones. Staged at the Apollo Victoria Theatre from last December, the show failed drastically in its attempt to meet its ticket-selling quota. The show’s inability to recoup costs will be reflected in the performer’s paycheques, who stand to receive nothing as the production company, headed by Matthew Hampson, enters liquidation.
Hampson stated: “We had a full financial review, and a company called Wilson Field is managing the business affairs, which – after reviewing everything – decided that was the best course of action.”
He added: “It has got to a point that I have tried every way imaginable to sort it out – it hasn’t worked. I am not going to try to excuse it. What happened is unfortunate for everyone including me, as I have put years and a lot of my own money into this.”
As dictated by the regulations of voluntary liquidation, all legal action gets stopped in its tracks and the production company is no longer liable for any arrears accrued. This comes as a blow to the Musicians’ Union, which claims it has fruitlessly been pursuing money for two of the cast’s members in the small claims court.
Naomi Pohl, regional organiser, said on the matter: “When a company goes into liquidation legal proceedings cannot continue, and sadly our members can end up as names on a long list of creditors. The reality is that they may not ever recover what is owing to them.”
Her disgruntlement evident, she adds: ““unpaid or late fees of this kind have a significant impact on musicians’ ability to make a living from their work.”
“We seem to be dealing with an especially high volume of unpaid fees at present, which shows that the financial crisis is still having a profound impact on the arts in general.”
Other big losers identified following liquidation include the London Gay Symphony Orchestra, owed thousands of pounds by M & M Associate production, it does not hold high hopes for being repaid.
“Not only that, but we shelled out our own money for rehearsal venues and instrument hire that was supposed to be reimbursed. We have not been, so not only are we short of our fee but we are also several hundred pounds out of pocket,” Peter Reynolds, manager, complained.
“As a self-funded charity organisation, this is really not very good for us.”