#FreelanceTaskForce

Update 24 June 2020

We are delighted to appoint Zorazelda King to represent the North West on the National Freelance Task Force. Zora will focus 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.

To collect views and issues, Zora will be facilitating discussions and leading creative workshops with an aim to reach out to as many early career creatives as possible.

Zora is an emerging community arts practitioner and theatre maker. She recently graduated in Applied Theatre and Community Drama at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and has worked closely with Contact and The Lowry as a performer and creative facilitator.

Update 9 June 2020

We wanted to show our support for the amazing freelancers who pretty much keep our sector afloat, so on Thursday 21 May 2020, we signed up to the Freelance Task Force.

The aim of the Freelance Task Force is to strengthen the influence of the self-employed theatre and performance community, led by Fuel Theatre.

It will create ongoing points of connection between freelancers, organisations, funders and government and amplify the voice of the self-employed in the conversations to come about how we manage the response to and recovery from the Covid-19 crisis in the performing arts sector.

Since we signed the letter, there have been many conversations happening and we’re delighted to announce that we’re in a position to take more practical action. There’s more information on the taskforce and letter below.

What are we doing?

We are looking to work with  a North-West freelance theatre practitioner to join a national task force, established to profile the needs and issues facing freelancers during the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath.

This opportunity is open to any freelance worker at any career stage who has worked with Contact in a freelance capacity in the last two years, including independent commissioned artists.

The aim of the Freelance Task Force is to strengthen the influence of the self-employed theatre and performance community.

It will create ongoing points of connection between freelancers, organisations, funders and government and amplify the voice of the self-employed in the conversations to come about how we manage the response to and recovery from the Covid-19 crisis in the performing arts sector.

Within this wider national programme, Contact is focusing on the specific needs and interests 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 (e.g. recent graduates, emerging artists)

Specifics

It is up to the Freelance Task Force to establish its own structure as to how it fulfills these aims.

We imagine that the Freelance Task Force will quickly establish its own agenda, set its own mission and organise itself. It is expected that each member will work together with all other members of the Freelance Task Force to:

  • co-ordinate wider conversations with freelancers in their area and/or specialism
  • hold and participate in regular Freelance Task Force meetings
  • attend meetings and events on behalf of the Freelance Task Force
  • lobby on behalf of the wider freelance community
  • ensure that information is widely distributed

You will need to coordinate wider conversations with early career freelancers across the North West, join regular national meetings with the task force, work on ideas with and for the task force, and to attend other meetings and events as needed.

This freelance opportunity covers 13 days of work at a rate of pay of £140 per day, covering the period from June-September.

How to apply

Send a maximum single-page statement of application, briefly outlining your relevant experience, and how you would lead a programme of consultation and information gathering across the freelance theatre sector to affect change.

Please flag in your application if you need additional access support to enable you to fulfil the role.

Please send your application by email to mattfenton@contactmcr.com

Deadline for application statements: 10am Tuesday 16 June 2020

Background to the Freelance Task Force 

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.

Visit our Documents Page for a full list of the various formats of the open letter, including Large Text, BSL, Audio and Easy Read.

An open letter to theatre and performance makers

This is a letter to self-employed and freelance theatre and performance makers in the UK. To the actors, playwrights, directors, choreographers, stage managers, designers, stage crews and set-builders to name just a few.

We really miss being with you during this period of lockdown. Making theatre and performance is a collaborative endeavour, so we are particularly affected by having to be apart from one another right now. We’re not able to come together, in the same space, to share the experience of a live performance. We’re not able to practise and enjoy our artform in its most basic form.

It’s now looking increasingly likely that won’t be possible for months to come, and we recognise that many freelancers face real uncertainty about if and how they will be able to continue to work in theatre. 70% of people who work in theatre and performance in the UK are freelance or self-employed, and it’s for this workforce, in all its diversity and complexity, that the impact of the current situation is most acute.

During these past weeks we have had conversations with many of you to understand your needs and the ways you have been affected. We are writing to express our support for you, and to lay out some practical steps we are taking to improve the situation based on these conversations.

As well as exploring ways of producing work with freelancers during lockdown, and using this time to develop new projects with freelancers for the future, we are also are working together to coordinate our response to the government, to articulate clearly what we can offer and what we need.

Most urgently, we are calling for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to be extended in line with furloughing, for all self-employed workers, and in the specific case of theatre and performance workers, until theatres are able to safely reopen. We also want to see criteria removed from the scheme which are stopping legitimate and much-needed claims.

Some of you are already involved in these conversations. We welcome your voices and need to hear from more of you in the conversations to come. Your unique networks, skillsets, perspectives, and ideas are vital to the entire sector, and we need to work with you in our response to this crisis.

Each of the organisations who’ve signed this letter are committed to reaching out to their family of self-employed and freelance theatre makers; listening to how this is affecting your work and lives, and to your needs and ideas for the future.

More than that, we want to facilitate the establishment of a national task force of self-employed theatre and performance makers. The purpose of the task force is to strengthen the influence of the self-employed theatre and performance community. It would create ongoing points of connection between freelancers and organisations, and amplify the voice of the self-employed in the conversations to come. To help establish the task force, each of the organisations signing this letter will support a freelancer to join the group, ensuring they are paid for their time.

We want to offer a message of hope and solidarity. Our well-practised ability to work together, to form connections, and build relationships will help us through this. One day, hopefully soon, we will all be able to meet together, as people have done for centuries, in a shared space, for a shared experience. In the meantime, we remain committed to working for you and with you towards a sustainable future for theatre and performance.

Signed,

Access All Areas

Action For Children’s Arts

Actors Touring Company

The Almeida Theatre

ArtsAdmin

Barbican Theatre Plymouth

Battersea Arts Centre

Belarus Free Theatre

Belgrade Theatre

Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Boundless Theatre

Brighton Festival

Bristol Old Vic

Brixton House

The Bush Theatre

Cast

Chichester Festival Theatre

China Plate

Chinese Arts Now

Citz Glasgow

Clean Break

The Cockpit

Company of Others

Complicite

Contact

Curatin Call Online

Curious Directive

Dance Base

Dance Umbrella

Derby Theatre

Diverse City

Doncopolitan

Donmar Warehouse

Eden Court Highlands

English Touring Theatre

Farnham Maltings

Fio

Frozen Light Theatre

Fuel

Gate Theatre

Graeae

Half of Cornwall

Headlong

Hijinx

HOME

Improbable

In Good Company

Jermyn Street Theatre

Jerwood Arts

Kiln Theatre

Knee High

Leeds Playhouse

Leicester Curve

Little Angel Theatre

Mercury Theatre

Miracle Theatre

National Dance Company Wales

The National Theatre

National Theatre of Scotland

National Theatre Wales

National Youth Theatre of Great Britain

The New Wolsey Theatre

Northern Stage

Nottingham Playhouse

One Dance UK

Oxford PLayhouse

Paines Plough

Pleasance Theatre

Polka Theatre

Ramps on the Moon

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Rose Theatre Kingston

Royal & Derngate

The Royal Court Theatre

The Royal Shakespeare Company

Rubicon Dance

Sadler’s Wells

Separate Doors

Shakespeare’s Globe

Sheffield Theatres

Smart Entertainment

Soho Theatre

Spare Tyre

Spin Arts

Stellar Quines

Stephen Joseph Theatre

Studio Wayne McGregor

Taking Flight Theatre

Talawa Theatre Company

Tangled Feet

Tara Arts

Theatre Centre

Theatre Peckham

Theatre Royal Plymouth

Theatre Royal Stratford East

Tiata Fahodzi

Unfolding Theatre

Unicorn theatre

Unlimited

Wales Millennium Centre

Wassail Theatre

Wise Children

The Yard

Yellow Earth

1927Access All Areas

Action For Children’s Arts

Activate Performing Arts

Actors Touring Company

Akademi

ArtsAdmin

Barbican Theatre Plymouth

Battersea Arts Centre

Belarus Free Theatre

Belgrade Theatre

Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Boundless Theatre

Brighton Festival

Bristol Old Vic

Brixton House

Candoco

Cast

Chichester Festival Theatre

China Plate

Chinese Arts Now

Citz Glasgow

Clean Break

Company of Others

Complicite

Contact

Curatin Call Online

Curious Directive

Dance Base

Dance Umbrella

Derby Theatre

Diverse City

Doncopolitan

Donmar Warehouse

Eden Court Highlands

English Touring Theatre

Farnham Maltings

Fio

Frozen Light Theatre

Fuel

Gate Theatre

Graeae

Hall For Cornwall

Headlong

Hijinx

HOME

Improbable

In Good Company

Jermyn Street Theatre

Jerwood Arts

Kiln Theatre

Knee High

Leeds Playhouse

Leicester Curve

Little Angel Theatre

Mercury Theatre

Mimbre

Miracle Theatre

National Dance Company Wales

National Theatre of Scotland

National Theatre Wales

National Youth Theatre of Great Britain

Northern Stage

Nottingham Playhouse

Octagon, Bolton

One Dance UK

Oxford Playhouse

Sophie Motley

Paines Plough

Pleasance Theatre

Polka Theatre

Ramps on the Moon

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Rose Theatre Kingston

Royal & Derngate

Rubicon Dance

Sadler’s Wells

Separate Doors

Shakespeare’s Globe

Sheffield Theatres

Smart Entertainment

Soho Theatre

Spare Tyre

Spin Arts

Stellar Quines

Stephen Joseph Theatre

Strike A Light

Studio Wayne McGregor

Taking Flight Theatre

Talawa Theatre Company

Tangled Feet

Tara Arts

The Almeida Theatre

The Bush Theatre

The Cockpit

The National Theatre

The New Wolsey Theatre

The Royal Court Theatre

The Royal Shakespeare Company

The Yard

Theatre Bristol + Kiota

Theatre Centre

Theatre Peckham

Theatre Rites

Theatre Royal Plymouth

Theatre Royal Stratford East

Tiata Fahodzi

Turtle Key

Unfolding Theatre

Unicorn theatre

Unlimited

Wales Millennium Centre

Wassail Theatre

Wise Children

Yellow Earth

1927

Further Information

Please click here for the constantly updated list of signatories.

You can also visit our Documents Page for a full list of the various formats of the open letter, including Large Text, BSL, Audio and Easy Read.