From this article about a theatre company’s productions involving tickets costing £20, one audience member at a time, hundreds of performers and no pay whatsoever for any of them:
… a great quote by Samuel West:
“The idea of having one audience member at a time can be terribly exciting for both audience and performers, and by its nature won’t earn much from the box office. But no matter how good the artistic results, I can’t support a working model where actors aren’t paid at all. Otherwise the only people who can afford to be in those shows are those who have other jobs or savings or private incomes – and that alters the demographic of actors you can use, and eventually the demographic of the profession.”
He’s right, and the same goes for any art form. Equity are considering court action.
PS: The article does mention that the company had support from the Barbican, but doesn’t even allude to the fact that they also had about £40,000 cash in hand for the show in question from the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Award (details of the award here, proof here). This makes their protestations that they don’t make a bean from doing the show ring a bit hollow.