Three quarters of the 250 actors surveyed in a report said that their theatre had a “problem with vermin and infestations". On the other hand two thirds agreed there was 'evidence of vermin infestation inside your dressing room'. “I had tiny bite marks on my lipstick recently when I left the lid off," the Times Online quoted a respondent as saying.
The survey— commissioned by Equity, the actors" union— received responses from cast members of productions including 'Billy Elliott", 'Dirty Dancing", 'The Lion King", 'Love Never Dies", 'Mamma Mia!", 'Oliver" and 'Phantom of the Opera". Ironically, one theatre that was excluded from the survey was the St Martin"s Theatre, home of the longest-running play in the world, 'The Mousetrap".
“These findings mean that tonight, over 600 actors and stage managers will go to work knowing that they will probably see and smell vermin. These appalling conditions must come to an end," said Christine Payne, the general secretary of Equity.
The survey also suggested that a third of theatres in the West End have temperamental heating, half have problems with ventilation, a third are unclean or poorly decorated and a third have grotty lavatories. Theatre owners said that they were doing their best to control the problem.