Proud Cabaret has sent an e-mail to regular performers with a list of venues, events and production companies to be avoided. The message tells cabaret, burlesque and circus artists who appear at weekly variety shows held at the Proud venues that working with the listed competitors “would put the regularity of your Proud bookings under review with immediate effect.”
A number of entertainers who have repeatedly contributed numbers to Proud events have forwarded the e-mail to This Is Cabaret, under the condition of anonymity. After further investigation, we are convinced that the message is authentic.
As of the publication of this article, none of the recipients of the message whom we’ve spoken to were bound by a contract to perform exclusively at Proud venues, nor were they approached to sign one.
“Exclusivity must be agreed in a contract,” says Mike Day, variety organiser at Equity. “Unless these performers were paid a substantial amount of money, I doubt anyone would agree to sign an exclusivity contract, given that the volume of work they get from Proud Cabaret is only five or six shows a month.”
The list of third parties to be avoided includes most of the venues that host variety shows frequently, like Madame Jojo’s, Café de Paris and Soho Theatre, all of which are located within relatively short distance of each other in Central London. Many artists maintain their careers in variety entertainment by performing regularly at those venues. Given the short duration of most burlesque, cabaret and circus routines, it is not unusual for performers to appear at two or more different locations in the same evening.
“People have been playing different venues since the days of music hall,” says cabaret performer Tricity Vogue. “None of us could afford to do this professionally if we were banned from working for different producers.”
This Is Cabaret considers the threatening coercion of artists towards any ends to be detrimental to the variety circuit as an industry. It is the opinion of this publication that such practices must not be endorsed. To that effect, we have removed all content pertaining to Proud Cabaret and its shows, and will refrain from covering events at Proud venues until we have ascertained that performers are not being subjected to hostile business practices.
The editors of This Is Cabaret can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The E-Mail Proud Has Sent to Its Regular Performers
Subject: Conflict of Interests
Hello to All
We are having on-going reports of those that we consider our nearest and dearest performers within the Proud family working with our direct competition.
We are 100% behind you as performers and want to see all your careers flourish on an international level whilst always being able to call Proud your home. I personally know how tricky and confusing this kind of situation can be so please find attached a list of our direct competitors whom, should it come to light you are having a fling with, would put the regularity of your Proud bookings under review with immediate effect.
We completely support your touring, theatre and corporate opportunities and, as always, my door is always open if you are in any doubt.
Love to All
[Employee’s name] x
Third parties listed by Proud Cabaret as “Conflict of Interests”
Café de Paris
The Peacock Bar
Royal Vauxhall Tavern
Dixie’s Tupperware Party
Friday Night Freakshow
House of Burlesque
Oh Oh Oh It’s Magic
Priceless London Wonderground
Wam Bam Club
The Tassel Club – Sara Cohen (sic)
World Burlesque Games – Chaz Royal