The Old Vic Theatre has been forced to suspend its unpaid intern programme following criticism from unions and Arts Council England.
The Stage newspaper reported the Old Vic has come under pressure from unions and Arts Council England to pay interns the minimum national wage. The theatre has previously justified its stance by highlighting its charitable status and lack of public funding.
The Arts Council released a guidance document "Internships in the arts" last November, which set out the responsibilities of employers including the payment of the national minimum wage.
Director of theatre Barbara Matthews told The Stage that Arts Council England would "encourage all arts organisations, including the Old Vic, to take note of their responsibilities."
The Old Vic confirmed to The Stage that it would end its main internship programme in September, although a second part-time programme looks set to continue until January.
The Old Vic Theatre runs a number of initiatives for younger people, under the umbrella of "Old Vic, New Voices". A spokesperson told The Stage,"For a theatre without subsidy, these initiative are tough to maintain, and our motivation has always been to encourage and develop new talent and find ways for young people to gain experience of working in the theatre."