Freelancers Make Theatre Work is run by a small voluntary group of freelancers. The group is not fixed but fluid and welcomes participants who are willing to give time. Each week, a different member of the team writes the newsletter...

Waiting for the phone to ring

By Emma Cameron

Waiting for the phone to ring. 

Ok that’s a bit old school – the reality in 2021 is more like waiting for an email.

As more and more announcements of theatres and productions opening are made, I have been sitting with a nervousness that my phone won’t ever ring with a job offer again. But recently this worry has been overshadowed by a different concern – if my phone does ring do I have the confidence to say yes? Having not been in a rehearsal space, run a tech, or packed a van my brain is working overtime convincing me that I have no skills or experience. I seem to be on a rollercoaster ride of hope and fear. Perhaps I didn’t leave the industry but the industry has left me.

At last weeks FMTW teabreak session a few people shared with us that they had been in rehearsals. One of the group had been back in a recording studio for a couple of days. They were thrilled to be back in a creative space, it had been a really great session and everyone at the end of the day had said how relieved they had been that they both remembered what to do and that they were good at it. It had felt a huge relief to them all. I don’t think I had realised how much I needed to hear that other people felt the same and I hold on to that story when those waves of doubt come crashing back in. 

I’ve really found a huge amount of joy in the half hour online FMTW teabreak sessions and I think part of the enjoyment is that it is the closest I have felt to a rehearsal room experience as possible right now. In fact, they often feel like that half hour before a rehearsal starts.  As a stage manager I am usually one of the first people in any rehearsal space and I’ve always found it quite a special part of the day, being there when each member of the team arrives, all bringing with them stories of their journey, frustrations of their life, or sharing a silence while they use the space to get themselves ready for the day ahead. It’s being part of a team, like so many of us, that I miss the most and the weekly online teabreaks are the closest I have felt to that. No agenda, camera on or off, chat away or listen in. It’s just a space to be. The range of conversation can include anything, there’s talk of theatre, dance, circus, backstage and onstage as well as wetsuits and flamenco dancing demos. (it was kind of like a royal wave but better). Like in a rehearsal process no two days are ever the same, I always come away having learnt something and they have given me a connection to the industry I was struggling to find. 

I’m so glad wellbeing is being talked about more and I hope we see all the changes we crave in the industry. FMTW will be running their online weekly sessions throughout April and I would recommend checking them out. They are fun, informal and free. 

And if you don’t feel they are for you that is ok too.

But for right now this is a written reminder, whether you’ve been working flat out, started back recently or like me are waiting for the phone to ring, 

You are brilliant.

You are talented.

You are unique

And the freelance community has your back.

Free Weekly Sessions
The Dawn Chorus - Monday's at 9am
The Dawn Chorus - Monday's at 9am
These FREE 30 minute sessions will help you shake off the past, be present with your voice and get ready to speak to your future.
Dawn Chorus
ZOOM Stage Combat - Tuesday's at 10am
ZOOM Stage Combat - Tuesday's at 10am
Fight Director Kombat Kate is ready to keep you moving and energised over these chilly months with some zoom boxing and stage combat classes.
Zoom Boxing
Tea Break - Thursday's at 11am
Tea Break - Thursday's at 11am
An open invitation to our virtual Green Room for those who have missed checking in with their work family!!! Bring a cuppa and grab a comfortable seat as we find a way to be together.
Tea Break
Useful links
Big Freelancer Report
Big Freelancer Report
Mapping the problems facing the freelance workforce and making practical recommendations for change.
Read the report
Ghost Shows Podcast
Ghost Shows Podcast
The first two episodes of our new podcast series are available now.
Listen to the podcast
New Support Pages
New Support Pages
Useful links outside of the industry in one helpful place where women and men can go for support and advice on abuse and violence.
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