In December 2012 the National Theatre took the decision to cease using a live orchestra during productions of the War Horse, from March 2013 the musicians' roles were dramatically reduced and in March 2014 the National Theatre gave notice to the musicians to terminate their contract on grounds of redundancy.
The Claimant musicians sought an injunction to require the National Theatre to engage them to play their instruments in the production of War Horse.
Mr Justice Cranston refused the application for an interim mandatory injunction for the following reasons:
- it would amount to a breach of the Article 10 ECHR rights of the producers and artistic team
- having decided that the live orchestra did not add to the production there was a loss of confidence such that on ordinary principles specific performance was unlikely to be ordered at the final hearing
- the production had already been rehearsed without live musicians meaning the order would require reworking of the production
- damages would be an adequate remedy for the musicians but not for the producers and the National Theatre.
Ashworth & Ors v The Royal National Theatre  EWHC 1176