Chris Luke responds to Barnyard Article.

Response to Debbie Davidson: Letter posted in the North Glen News (week of the 19th February), Page 8 entitled:  ‘Barnyard Responds to Smear Campaign’

As a highly experienced musician (Bmus), having played 1600 shows for The Barnyard Theatre, I would like to respond to the letter, Barnyard Responds to Smear Campaign. The letter refers to me as reckless – I see my actions as deliberate, educated and informed.

The Barnyard Theatre Productions’ (B.T.P) practices are unethical and in contravention of Labour Law. I worked for B.T.P. permanently for four years, six nights a week, over 70 hours a month. According to the Labour Relations Act, I was a permanent employee. B.T.P. answer in the affirmative to all seven questions posed by the L.R.A to determine permanent employee status. They fail the Dominant Impression Test when it comes to deciding whether musicians and singers are permanent employees.

B.T.P. do not provide their artists with contracts; provide no contract following a verbal booking; do not define employee status; do not pay a rehearsal fee; have no C.O.D insurance; have no safety regulations; they rehearse the cast while the set goes up; provide unhygienic accommodation; have no forum for grievances; and engage in threats and unfair dismissals based on the vulnerability of artists without contracts. I personally know artists who have been dropped a week before a three month run at Gateway Barnyard, due to Debbie Davidson not insisting upon contracts for her artists. B.T.P does not define minimum wage and do not increase salaries according to yearly inflation. None of the franchises, including Gateway, are demanding fair labour practices. They comply with B.T.P’s protocol, instead of putting pressure on them to change it.

This issue relates to the rights of artists in South Africa and the need for a musicians’ union. This is a collective movement: An internet group that supports the view that B.T.P. exploits musicians, has 475 members – many of these members are ex-Barnyard performers.

I have entered into legal action Barnyard Theatre. My CCMA papers were sent Friday, 12 February 2010. B.T.P. replied three days later, wanting to discuss a settlement. One of my conditions will be that my image is no longer associated with them. This Friday I have been granted an audience with ******* ***** *******I will be meeting with them to explain why I think The Barnyard should lose its ******* ***** ******* endorsement.

Chris Luke.

(377 words)



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Barnyard responds in press

TO THE EDITOR of the North Glen News

My response to Debbie Davidson: Letter posted in the North Glen News (week of the 19th February), Page 8 entitled:  ‘Barnyard Responds to Smear Campaign’.

I would like my response to be printed in your newspaper in full – no alterations, no adjustments. It has been edited grammatically by my proofreader. If you cannot print this response in your newspaper (at 377 words), I will get another newspaper to print it.Since I have been attacked in your newspaper, it would only be fair that you print my response.

Please see the links to the sites below, which pertain to the issues of artist exploitation:

An Internet group with 475 members, including highly respected actors, top artists and ex-Barnyard performers. The site is public. Please go to the discussion box and read the posts, particularly the twelve issues of protocol:

Please watch the video of Barnyard performers in Sun City who speak their testimonies. None of these performers had a contract. This was a case for the Health Department. The showgirls were on stage with unwashed hair for a week:

The Claw Project. My reply to Davidson’s letter will be posted on this site within the next two days. I will be expecting your print and my post to look the same

This is not a smear campaign. It is a well-informed fight for artists’ rights. It is the way we are battling this issue without a union. As a newspaper, I hope that you will remain impartial and tell both sides of the story.

Thank You

Chris Luke

** Chris Lukes response will be posted tomorrow morning.**


Filed under Barnyard Theatre

Pro (C)law?

Look I don’t want to get involved in this, but I have to say something, yes claw has made his mistakes in the past. This blog has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue for the past few weeks. As much as this man had made mistakes in his past, at least he tried, he gave it all. So basically it has created awareness.

@ Gillian –Have you contacted claw? Why don’t you try and make some kind of arrangement with him? Reading some of your letters shows me that once up on a time you guys must have been business partners, none of our business.  You don’t need to answer me, but TRY it, allot of producers have owed some of us money, and still do. Claw is not the only one.

@Pat – I take my hat off for you, creating awareness is great news! But I am trying to figure something out.  Do you want this man to stop producing? Cause reading everything, and all the comments, your blog is more to humiliate him than what it is to create awareness, and that is somehow a big concern to allot of people like myself, as he is a producer who allot of us have worked with in the past. Mostly allot of us have had good times, and some had bad times… And continue to work with him….

Reading the article in the Argus, I can’t help but wonder, here is a man, that has probably lost everything he has ever had and yet you slag him into the ground. For a second turn the table on yourself, ask yourself the question. What if you tried everything? Did you just give up?

I read what Bridget said, and somehow I would like to agree with her. Here is a man who has given it all, who has lost it all. I think reading of the space in ct closing makes me think that claw has finally given up his coat to producing. Mind you, I would probably do the same.

I respect claw for 30 years of work. I looked at the bigger picture, and I looked at the smaller picture, claw does not deserve this…  I stand for fellow actors and yes create awareness. But create them for everyone, as claw is not the only producer that I know that owes people money. Sadly they are everywhere.



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Another comment on the Argus article

By: Ashleigh Harvey.

Really good to see Mr CLaw being held accountable for his actions. I thought that the article was very fair and allowed him to respond to all the allegations.

I notice that he didn’t deny the fact that he owes people money. Which is interesting, considering that he told one particular agent that he “owes no one money.” What’s also interesting is that he owes a friend of mine R7000-00 for work she did for him in January. He also owes the other two performers, who worked with my friend on the same project, R7000-00 each.

Another interesting thing is that I, personally, have been singled out by Mr CLaw in his retaliation against this site. I’ve been told that I will never work for him and that I should be very careful about what I say on this site because he has lots of friends in high up places and I could be jeopardising my career. Has anyone else been singled out? And if not, I wonder at the power I hold on this forum.

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Comment on Argus article

By: Gillian Lindner

Well I think Melanie Peters did a fine job by continuing to expose this man for what he is.
Just going from what I read in the article, I am interested to learn that he had R3-million to squander on the NewSpace Theatre, and that he even had a savings account at all to clean out. As I understood it, the reason why he didn’t honour all the high court judgements is because he didn’t have a cent to his name. He clearly could have paid us all long ago, but chose not to thereby showing quite clearly that he has no respect for we who enabled him to operate, for the industry and no sense of honour to the high court.
In all the years I have known him, Law has always had ideas beyond his means. He liked to talk big, and even tried to carry out his grand plans. He has a clever method of silencing his critics by saying they can’t see the bigger picture etc (his interview that sparked off this article response is full of these clichés), and thinks he is some sort of an entrepreneurial visionary, but his plans go awry on a regular basis continuously damaging the name of the SA theatre industry. Perhaps in his dreams he thinks he can do it, but in practise it leaves casualties along the way and he is seldom one of them.
By the way, I did receive a lawyer’s letter from his lawyer. I am still amazed that such a letter could be so full of spelling and grammatical errors, but even more amazed that Law thinks he has an honourable name in the industry. Ask anyone about his reputation, and the answer will be the same. His reputation is in disrepute due to his own actions. Because of some of these actions, I have a high court judgement that says he owes me money and until he pays it, I feel I have the right to air my views.
Just remember that next time he tries to make it big, and he will because that is the nature of the beast, it will be at someone’s expense. Also remember that if he has money to spend, some of it should go in instalments to those who have high court judgements against him that are still valid. It is the honourable thing to do.


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Weekend Argus article.



Filed under Colin Law

A reply to Bridget.

This was sent in as a replay to the previous post “The other side of the (C)Law”

Dear Pat
Thank you for sharing this with me. I might add that I feel the same way about Bridget that she feels about you. Huge respect for her work, but we need to be candid right back.
Also …Bridget owes me money for when I did a small amount of work for her with David H.
First of all, only Colin’s few friends think it is juvenile, and that is probably because he introduced the word.
Secondly, she would not find it distasteful if she were owed the R40 000+ money. Or in my case, over R800 000.
Thirdly, yes it IS necessary to launch such an attack on Colin, as he does it deliberately and with intent.
Fourthly, I bet he owes more people than he has paid, over the years.
Fifthly, maybe those people who worked for him recently are slagging him off because he didn’t pay them??
Sixthly, this whole business does bring the industry into disrepute, and it is Colin Law who has made it happen. Not the poor honest people who deserve the money he promised them.
Finally, yes, there are three sides. The right side, the wrong side, and the Colin Law exploitative side. Bridget must look at things realistically and not be conned by Colin Law’s smooth tongue.
More anon,

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