Opera singers’ court win after allegations of unpaid ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ performance fees

Leading opera singers Antoinette Halloran, Jason Wasley, Andrew Jones and Jacqueline Dark have had a win in the NSW District Court after their agent took action against the producers of the inaugural Melbourne Musical Theatre Festival. The festival had cancelled a production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Some Enchanted Evening in early 2017, one day into rehearsals.

The singers’ agent, Patrick Togher Artists’ Management, this week obtained a default judgment against two of the producers of the festival, Malcolm McClure and Zenaan Harkness. The action was taken to recover $80,000 in the singers’ unpaid performance fees. 

The singers, who had set aside several weeks to work on the show, due to have played from January 6 to 28, 2017, had allegedly not received payment for their work in accordance with their agreement with the producers. Some had turned down other working opportunities and paid for accommodation for the duration of the contract.

The default judgment was obtained as a result of McClure and Harkness not filing their defences in time – it was not obtained because the Court determined the substantive allegations set out in the statement of claim. The two producers were ordered to pay $95,537.18 (which includes costs).

McClure and Harkness were representing Grace Missions, the religious organisation producing the event which had announced a program of concerts and stagings of full-length musicals at the Athaeneum Theatre in January, 2017. They had ambitions of evolving the Festival into “THE major Musical Theatre Festival in the world.”

The festival itself was cancelled the day rehearsals began for its main event, Some Enchanted Evening, citing “unforeseen and currently unresolvable technical issues”.

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