THE Nigerian-born playwright, Bisi Adigun, who co-wrote a modern-day version of Synge's The Playboy of the Western World with Booker prize-winner Roddy Doyle, has lost a claim of discrimination against the Abbey Theatre.
This is the second time he has lost a battle against the Abbey. Last May, Adigun sued the Abbey and Doyle, alleging a breach of copyright and violation of his moral rights over his exclusion from a second production of the play in late 2008. But Justice Peter Kelly refused to admit Adigun case to the commercial court.
In his latest claim, Adigun, who has been resident in Ireland since 1998, told the Equality Tribunal that an agreement to perform the play between the Abbey, Roddy Doyle and himself, in his role as artistic director of Arambe Productions, was a contract of employment and not a business deal. He argued that as the Abbey had reserved exclusive rights to produce the play, he was therefore employed by the Abbey.
The play, which depicts the central character in Synge's play, Christy Mahon, as a Nigerian asylum seeker, was performed by the Abbey as part of the Dublin theatre festival in October 2007 and again in late 2008.
Supporting his claim that he was an employee of the Abbey, Adigun told a hearing of the Equality Tribunal that he became involved in media coverage of the play, was involved in casting and attended most rehearsals.
He said that as 'employer', the Abbey had discriminated against him on the grounds of race and later by excluding him from a second production of the play in late 2008.
But the Abbey completely rejected Adigun's arguments and pointed out that the agreement with Arambe Productions and Roddy Doyle was a licence agreement to perform the play.
The theatre, which was represented by Arthur Cox solicitors, said it had no employment contract whatsoever with Adigun. The national theatre said it collaborated with Arambe on the production of the play, which meant that Adigun was present in the Abbey at rehearsals but he was not employed by the theatre.
He received no wages and any income he received from the play was in the form of royalties paid to Arambe Productions as per the agreement, the Abbey said. Equality Officer, Vivion Jackson, agreed with the Abbey and rejected Adigun's claim "in its entirety".
Get off to a profitable sports betting start today at sportsbetting.co.uk