Since writing last, within the Freelance Task Force, conversations are continuing to take place with SOLT and UK theatre around funding, with talk to raise millions for the Theatre Artists Fund. There feels like there have been some great steps forward regarding the discussions being had and the proposals that are beginning to form.
However, a continuing thread across all conversations seem to be that there is a lack of clarity and accessibility surrounding funding and support applications across the sector. Not only in the applications themselves, but in the distribution of information from funders and organisations.
My focus within the Task Force has been on the specific needs of early career practitioners in the first 5 years of their creative careers, those unable to access other forms of industry or government support, and those about to enter the profession. With this in mind, I am concerned by the lack of discussions being had by funders and organisations surrounding the issues that these individuals who fall within these categories.
However, I feel, in smaller group talks there has been more positivity and proactive discussions. Discussions with Task Force representatives in smaller emerging artists and graduate specific groups. And sessions facilitated by myself, reaching out to emerging artists and early career practitioners offering proposals to take forward to the Task Force. These smaller sessions have been an opportunity for us to network and formulate some tangible next steps.
Currently, in these restricted and difficult times, a key focus is action. How can we ensure that our aims are progressing into actions and which organisations will step up to support us? Furthermore, the continuing question I remain to ask is; How do we ensure that we make real change, and that we are not forgotten in these important larger discussions within the sector?
Keep an eye out on twitter for more discussions to get your voice heard and upcoming virtual creative workshops! Or get in touch with me if you’d like to know more and have a chat!
Background to the Freelance Taskforce
On Thursday 21 May 2020 a group of performing arts organisations, including producing companies and venues, jointly signed a letter in support of the freelancers who make up a large and vital part of the ecology of the performance sector.
The letter had 3 main aims:
• To listen and respond to the needs of freelancers in the performing arts
• To call for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme to be extended in line with furloughing and until theatres can reopen in earnest
• To establish a Freelance Task Force of self-employed theatre and performance makers.
Each organisation signing up to the letter has committed to paying a freelancer for one day a week throughout June, July and August to join the Freelance Task Force.
We are proud to be a signatory of this open letter to theatre and performance makers, alongside many of our peers across the UK, and we fully support the creation of a #FreelanceTaskForce.