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Working in Theatre

Our agreements

The MU has a collective bargaining agreement for musicians working in the West End of London with the Society of London Theatre (SOLT).

We also have House Agreements with Companies including:

  • Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)
  • The Royal National Theatre (RNT)
  • Regents Park Theatre (RPT)
  • Menier Chocolate factory (MCF)
  • Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

Each of the organisations above have unique and distinct ways of working. The Union has negotiated bespoke agreements for these companies for the employment of musicians that recognise the needs of each company.

In addition to the above the MU has a National Agreement for regional subsidised theatre and commercial touring theatre with UK Theatre (UKT), formerly the Theatrical Management Association (TMA)


Skill Set


A successful theatre musician will be able to sight read to a very high standard, play competently in all styles, be able to follow a Musical Director (MD) and, at the same time, keep an ear out for what is going on onstage. Being mindful to the changes that can happen on stage and being able to adapt to those changes is a key skill

Be personable and friendly — it’s often in close quarters and confined band rooms and pits where time is spent with fellow musicians. Finally, be prepared to play the same notes in the same way eight times a week.

There is little scope for personal interpretation or improvisation. Theatre work is a discipline that may not be suitable for all musicians. However, it also provides security of engagement and a regular income which can last for decades if a show is very successful. Such reliable income streams are not common for  musicians in the music business.

Related downloads

MU UK Theatre Rate increases 2015-2018 Commercial 8 shows (PDF 224.33 bytes)

MU UK Theatre Rate Increases 2015-2018 Subsidised 12 Shows (PDF 224.44 bytes)

MU UK Theatre Rate Increases 2015-2018 Subsidised 8 Shows (PDF 223.53 bytes)

MU UK Theatre Rate Increases 2015-2018 Commercial 12 shows (PDF 224.58 bytes)

Musicians Working in UK Theatre Agreement (PDF 283.63 bytes)

Royal Shakespeare Company 2013 (PDF 231.7 bytes)

SOLT MU Agreement 2013-2015 (PDF 294.89 bytes)

Overtime and Holiday Pay (PDF 46.24 bytes)

Royal National Theatre 2016 - 2017 (PDF 289.81 bytes)

Regents Park Open Air Theatre 2015 - 2018 (PDF 56.47 bytes)

Menier Chocolate Factory Agreement 2016 (PDF 286.73 bytes)

SOLT MU Rates 2016-17 (PDF 37.84 bytes)