Almost a year ago to the day, twelve theatre freelancers met for the first time over Zoom. From different disciplines, backgrounds and experiences, the pandemic and the subsequent shutdown of our industry brought them together.
What could we do? What could any of us do?
There was no support, no collective union. No voice for Freelancers. Freelancers who were receiving no support, no information.
Freelancers, it seemed, were alone.
Freelancers make up over 70% of the industry but there was no furlough for us. No sick pay, no HR department.
Key words that kept coming up in the meeting were transparency, advocacy, fairness, connectivity. By the end of the meeting Freelancers Make Theatre Work was born.
Within a week, a website sprung to life. A central source for information, guidance, support. A digital space for a vast community unheard and unsupported.
A social media campaign followed where thousands of Theatre Freelancers posted pictures of themselves holding up signs declaring their job and proclaiming that yes, Freelancers DO make theatre work. Even now, a year on, theatre Freelancers are still posting their pictures and we share them every day on our instagram channel.
Freelancers were not alone. There are over 200,000 of us!
A year on and the FMTW team has grown with over 80 different Freelancers feeding in and supporting the collective.
We've achieved a lot. But there is more. Much more we can do.
For now, thank you. Thank you to our amazing community. For shouting, for sending your pictures, for writing to your MPs. Thank you to the Theatres, buildings, organisations and individuals who have looked after their freelancers and for those who have listened, learned and grown.
And thank you to the amazing team who have contributed time, energy, love and advice to FMTW over the last 12 months...
Adele Thomas, Alisa Kalyanova, Alistair Cope, Andy Whyment, Anna Fleischle, Anne McNulty, Anoushka Warden, Arran Pallan, Athena Stevens, Ben Arkell, Beth Sitek, Beth Steel, Bill Bankes-Jones, Chino Odimba, Claire Williamson, Davina Shah, Deelee Dube, Ella Taylor, Ellie Manners, Emily Burns, Emma Cameron, Emma Jayne Park, Esi Acquaah-Harrison, Fi Fraser, Freddie Crossley, Gurkiran Kaur, Gweneth Rand, Hazel Holder, Heidi Thornton, Jack Hudson, Jake Orr, James Ifan, Jess Murrain, Joel Trill, John McCann, John Schwab, Josie Underwood, Kat Rose-Martin, Kate Waters, Keith Arrowsmith, Kelsie Acton, Laura Meaton, Leigh Toney, Leo Wan, Lynne Page, Matt Humphrey, Michael Henry, Mimi Doulton, Nafeesah Butt, Natalie Abrahami, Neil Austin, Nikki Edwards, Ola Ince, Paul Carey Jones, Paul Connolly, Paule Constable, Peter Braithwaite, Peter McKintosh, Polly Bennett, Prema Mehta, Rachel Bagshaw, Richard Eyre, Sally Beck Wippman, Shankho Chaudhuri, Sita Thomas, Steffan Donnelly, Steven Hoggett, Sunita Hinduja, Susan Kempster, Tamara Stein, Tamykha Patterson, Titas Holder, Tom Piper, Tracey Lindsay, Vicki Mortimer