Early August saw a resumption of negotiations between Hollywood studios and the Writers Guild of America (WGA), which has been on strike since the beginning of May this year.

Local theatre may not be anywhere near the Hollywood echelons, but both cast and crew in the Illawarra have seen the strike action as an opportunity to raise some of the industrial issues that affect local productions.

Samuel Dobell, has been around the theatre for 11 years, and is currently involved in Roo Theatre’s pantomime production of Beauty and the Beast, which finishes tomorrow night.

“Some cast members are very obnoxious when it comes to dealing with crew, most are very polite and appreciative. But after having both on-and-off-stage experiences, the cast who have been crew and cast, have a newfound respect for anyone who is in crew,” Mr Dobell said.

Whilst the theatre industry isn’t unionised like the Writers’ Guild — either in the USA or in Australia — industrial tensions still exist, particularly between large production companies, like Sydney’s Capitol Theatre, and smaller ones like Roo Theatre, which rarely have the means to buy the rights to scripts.

“For this show we have been unfortunate that the Capital Theatre is currently doing Beauty and the Beast (the musical), so we’ve had to do a pantomime and change character names etc., due to licensing issues,” Mr Dobell said.

Roo Theatre’s production of Beauty and The Beast closes tomorrow night, so make sure to check it out before tickets are all sold out!