West End theatre is one of the most prestigious stages in the world, and it attracts some of the biggest stars in the entertainment industry. But who are the highest-paid stars in West End theatre? Let’s take a look.
- Mark Strong: British actor Mark Strong is one of the most in-demand performers in West End theatre. He has appeared in a number of successful film productions, including A View from the Bridge and The Red Barn. According to reports, Strong earns around £125,000 per week for his performances.
- Imelda Staunton: Imelda Staunton is a veteran of West End theatre, having appeared in numerous productions over the years. Her most recent role in the hit musical Gypsy reportedly earned her a salary of around £80,000 per week.
- Ian McKellen: Sir Ian McKellen is one of the most respected actors in the world, and he has appeared in a number of West End productions over the years. According to reports, he earned £60,000 per week for his role in the play No Man’s Land.
- Sheridan Smith: Sheridan Smith is a popular actress and singer who has appeared in a number of West End productions, including Legally Blonde and Funny Girl. She reportedly earned £50,000 per week for her role in the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
- David Tennant: Former Doctor Who star David Tennant is another actor who has found success on the West End stage. He reportedly earned £45,000 per week for his role in the play Don Juan in Soho, Westend.
- Beverly Knight: Singer Beverly Knight has also found success in West End theatre, with roles in The Bodyguard and Memphis the Musical. She reportedly earned £40,000 per week for her role in the latter.
- Benedict Cumberbatch: The Sherlock star is another high earner in West End theatre. He reportedly earned £30,000 per week for his role in the play Hamlet.
Jason Donovan’s fee from 1991 rumoured to be 33K a week would be worth over 61K now, whilst those in the West End are, as has been reported, about to embark on a new set of pay negotiations so lagging behind by a few months. Even so, we’ve gone by the current standings (set to remain until April 2023). In the West End, pay bands are broken into three categories, based on capacity and whether performers are doing an eight- or 12-show minima week.
“Category A” venues (featuring 1,100 or more seats) have an eight-show minima pay of £768.98 weekly rate (up from £695 in 2018), with that figure rising to £900.36 for a 12-show minima.
“Category B” venues (with between 900 and 1099 seats) have an eight-show minima weekly rate of £699.50 (up from £632 in 2018), with a 12-show minima of £818.49.
“Category C” venues (up to 799 seats) have an eight-show minima of £629.41 with a 12-show minima of £736.65.
There are also additional bonuses for dance captains (£120 in the West End) and for understudy appearances (£22 for a “supporting” role, £35 for leading/principal roles). Actor-musicians also have an increased rate of pay, ranging from £867 to £937 depending on venue capacity.
Pay rates begin at £1,104 per week for once-nightly performances for west end performers.
Actors’ Equity Association on Broadway locked in a new contract in December, setting the minimum weekly salary for actors on Broadway at $2,323 (£1,871 at today’s exchange rate), with that figure set to increase to $2,638 by 2024.
In conclusion, the highest-paid stars in West End theatre are some of the most talented performers in the world, and they are able to command top salaries for their work. While these figures may seem astronomical to some, they are a reflection of the immense talent and hard work that goes into creating world-class theatre productions.
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