Unions, Associations & Networks

Arts Unions
Artists' Union Logo

Artists’ Union England


Who: Artists’ Union England is the collective voice of artists living and working in England.

What: “Our members work in disciplines including: Visual Art, Applied Arts, Socially Engaged Art, Moving Image, Sound and Performance. Artists’ Union England is an active union and is constantly campaigning, producing resources and signposting opportunites for its members. “




Who: Represents over 40,000 staff, contract and freelance workers in the media and entertainment industries.

What: “As a trade union, we are passionate about all the key issues that affect our members.”

BECTU also have a specific ‘Freelancers’ Branch’ which you can find out more about here.

Equity Logo



Who: Represents 47,000 performers and creative practitioners.  Actors, singers, dancers, designers, directors, stage managers, puppeteers, comedians, voice artists, and variety performers working on stage, TV, catwalk, film, recording studios, night clubs and circus tents.

What: “Equity brings together entertainment professionals and ensures their demands are heard: whether these are for decent pay, better health and safety regulations, or more opportunities for all – regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability or class. Even when our members perform solo, they are not alone. They are always part of the Equity community.”

Industrial Workers Of The World Logo



Who: “We are people of diverse races, genders and ages, from every area and country. We have diverse backgrounds and a multitude of different skills, but we have the same goal—to win better conditions at work, and a fairer world tomorrow.

Many of us work on a casual or part-time basis and many of us are on very low wages. Many of us are women, and are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. It is from this diversity that we gain strength.”

What: “The IWW is a revolutionary global union, fighting for better conditions today and economic democracy tomorrow. By training our members in powerful organising methods, direct-action and direct-democracy, we put power in the hands of workers.

We believe that ordinary people are best placed to lead and create change, both at work and in society. We put our members in charge, training each and every one to build and lead their workplace unions, organise their own campaigns and take the action that wins.

We’re an active and fighting union. We know solidarity is strength, and we prove it by looking after each other. We provide advice and representation when you have problems at work, but we’re much more than that.”

Musicians Union Logo



Who: Represents over 32,000 musicians working right across the music industry

What: “As well as negotiating on behalf of musicians with all the major employers in the industry; we provide advice, services and assistance tailored to each individual member.

We are behind every musician – whether you are full time, part time, self-employed or a student musician.”

United voices of the world logo



Who: “UVW is a members-led, campaigning trade union which supports and empowers the most vulnerable groups of precarious, low-paid and predominantly migrant workers in the UK”

What: “We campaign for all members to receive at least the London Living Wage (£10.75 per hour as of Nov. 2019), contractual sick pay and other rights, dignified and safe conditions, and general respect.  We also challenge outsourcing itself, which creates two-tier workforces in order to slash wage bills and deny important rights.

We were the first union in the UK to beat outsourcing.”

Theatre Specific: “Workers in the design and cultural sectors are conning together to organise for our collective rights.  Join us!

UVW’s Designers + Cultural Workers (UVW-DCW) is a cross-sector trade union organising isolated and groups of workers across the creative industries.”

Writers Guild of Great Britain logo



Who: Represents professional writers in TV, film, theatre, radio, books, comedy, poetry, animation and videogames.  Also includes emerging and aspiring writers.

What: “We lobby and campaign on behalf of writers, to ensure their voices are heard in a rapidly changing digital landscape.

We offer a range of benefits to our members, including free training, contract vetting, a pension scheme, Welfare Fund, entry to our Find A Writer directory, a weekly ebulletin, plus member-only events and discounts.”

Associations & Networks

AAPTLE - The Alliance of Associations and Professionals in Theatre & Live Events


Who: The Alliance of Associations and Professionals in Theatre & Live Events includes representatives who work in all aspects of the theatrical and events community including more than two hundred thousand creative and production practitioners.


  • To establish an Alliance that will be an open and ever evolving community, supporting ways to come together, connect and take action. 
  • To actively work towards making our industry a safe, inclusive and sustainable place to work, now and in the future. 
  • To actively inform and share each other’s actions and campaigns and work with the unions in order to have a unified voice in our industry. 
  • To openly and confidentially discuss contractual conditions as appropriate in order to prevent the erosion of existing terms and working standards and to promote best practice. 
  • To actively Identify immediate issues within the industry and agree action points to mutually work towards improvements and find solutions. 
  • To remain in discussion and consolidate as one voice to become more influential in decisions of the industry for our future. 
  • To use the collaboration of this strong Alliance to benefit all our members and strengthen our associations
Arts and Health Club logo



Who: “We’re a network for artists and cultural producers (curators etc) interested or working in the field of arts and health.”

What: “A place for artists to connect, learn and share. We support artists and cultural producers in the arts and health sector to be the best they can be.”




Who: “The ABTT is a membership organisation which sets and upholds standards in technical excellence, safety and compliance for theatre and live performance.”

What: “A resource to support members through the provision of information and advice on good practice, safe working and enforcement within the theatre industry. We advise on safety, planning, good practice and enforcement and provide publications to support your knowledge.”

ALD Logo



Who: The ALD is the professional body representing all those who work or are interested in the creation of lighting, video and projection for live performance and events. 

What: “At its most basic level, the ALD brings together a profession which is otherwise a collection of isolated individuals.  With that unity comes strength and influence.”

Covid Specific Info: The ALD has put together an excellent financial survival guide which is relevant to all freelancers.


Association of Lighting Designers logo



Who: The ASD provide a community for the UK theatre sound professionals and students.

What: “The Association of Sound Designers advocates for a diverse and inclusive theatre sound community, in which all members, regardless of race, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, mental health, nationality, language, religion, belief, or socioeconomic background can work with dignity and in safety.”

“Our aim is to provide a community and a variety of educational and support networks – both online and in real life. We offer assistance to those who live far away from industry centres like London to be able to travel to our training events. We offer the loan of recording equipment to those who might otherwise struggle to access it. We also exist to provide a mouthpiece for the industry – to vocalise the issues our members face, and to improve their working lives. We also provide resources and open access training to non-members and the rest of the industry.”

Casting Directors' Guild logo



Who: “A professional organisation of Casting Directors in the film, television, theatre and commercials communities in the UK and Ireland”

What: “To further our common interests in establishing a recognised standard of professionalism in the industry, enhancing the stature of the profession, providing a free exchange of information and ideas, honouring the achievements of members and standardisation of working practices within the industry.”

Circus Change Up logo



Who: Circus Change Up is a sector development project for the subsidised circus sector based on the findings from the Circus Snapshow / Slow Thinking Conference that took place in July 2020.

What: By forming Working groups around 10 missions and focusing on action, the project will help the subsidised circus sector to develop a coherent vision that has been built through grassroots consultation and collaboration, thereby strengthening it for the future.  

Creative Entrepreneurs Club logo



Who: We’re a bunch of creative entrepreneurs who’ve come together because we thought that sharing and helping each other would be a pretty powerful thing.

What: The Creative Entrepreneurs’ Club, a member-driven community, is designed to help creative people grow sustainable businesses in an authentic and empathic way. That means it’s relaxed, it’s fun, it’s practical, it’s accessible and it’s useful. It is a community for everyone

Creative Industries Federation logo



Who: “Our membership network comprises more than 10,000 individuals from creative organisations, businesses and educational institutions throughout the UK.”

What: “The Creative Industries Federation is the membership body which represents, champions and supports the UK’s creative industries

Through our unique network of creative organisations, our influential policy and advocacy work and our extensive, UK-wide events programme we support and celebrate the work of our members.”

Creu Cymru logo



Who: Creu Cymru champions the performing arts in Wales.

What: Creu Cymru is, first and foremost, a collaborative network; we share information, expertise, research, touring, advocacy… and above all, a will to develop programmes and audiences. We work together to support an ever more resilient resource at the heart of communities across Wales. Our membership is open to all of the nation’s professionally run theatres and arts centres and producing companies and individuals, at a diverse range of scales.

The Dramaturgs' Network logo



Who: Established in 2001, the Dramaturgs’ Network is the only organisation in the United Kingdom dedicated solely to supporting practitioners, developing and sharing the practice and theory of dramaturgy.

What: To provide a network of support, shared ideas, knowledge and resources for British theatre practitioners functioning in the role of dramaturg, literary manager or educational professionals involved in dramaturgical practices.

To explore the role, function and contributions of dramaturgs in the theatre process through practice, debate and collaborations.

 To cultivate, develop and disseminate current dramaturgical practices.

 To promote collaborative work practices involving dramaturgs by providing support and information to theatre practitioners and organisations engaging dramaturgs.

The Envelope Room logo



Who: “The Envelope Room supports, promotes and connects performance designers (including set, costume, lighting and video designers) based in Scotland”

What: “Through a programme of events and workshops, we encourage continued professional development for designers, enabling them to collaborate with other artists; expand their contacts; engage with international work; develop skills and enhance their creative practice. We aim to explore the relationship between designers and other theatre makers.  Our goal is to strengthen the existing design community by creating an environment which enables designers to craft work of the highest quality whilst exploring the art form and allowing them opportunities to be part of the evolution of theatre design.”

Federation Of Scottish Theatre Logo



Who: Scotland’s membership and development body for professional dance, opera and theatre.

What: Federation of Scottish Theatre is the membership and development body for professional dance, opera and theatre in Scotland. We undertake strategic advocacy on behalf of the sector, representing its collective voice to the Scottish and UK Governments, Creative Scotland, Local Authorities and other stakeholders.

I Opera Logo



Who: a collective of independent opera makers working to effect positive change within the opera industry.

What: a grassroots organisation focussed on change. As individuals, we believe change starts with us. We can react immediately, within our own work, we set our own boundaries and good working practices, and encourage those we work with to do the same.


IETM logo

IETM – International network for contemporary performing arts


Who: International network for contemporary performing arts is one of the oldest and largest international cultural networks, representing the voice of over 500 performing arts organisations and individual professionals working in the contemporary performing arts worldwide.

What: We create opportunities for our members and the international performing arts community at large by organising networking activities, peer-to-peer learning, exchanges and dialogues via various events. 

We also commission publications and research, facilitate communication and distribution of information about the performing arts and advocate for the position of performing arts professionals, worldwide.

Ipse Logo



Who: the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed

What: “IPSE is the voice of the UK’s self-employed population who make up one in seven people working today.”

The League of Independent Producers logo



Who: Producers who do not have a primary interest in the ownership or operation of any theatre

What: “The League was established by independent UK theatre producers to represent and promote their interests.

It sits alongside the established industry trade associations (The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre) and exists to represent the interests of producers where they diverge from those of theatre managers and owners. Membership is therefore limited to producers who do not have a primary interest in the ownership or operation of any theatre.

Movement Directors' Association Logo



Who: The Movement Directors’ Association is an artist-led network that celebrates the work of movement directors and elevates their voices. 

What: Our mission is to create better working conditions by promoting a deeper understanding of our contribution within the profession.

We are connecting a thriving community and representing our collective artistic interests.

National Rural Touring Forum logo



Who: “NRTF members are made up of a national network of Rural Touring Schemes who programme menus of professional artistic events that tour in their region. We also have artist, venue, promoter, producer and festival members all promoting and developing professional work for rural settings.”

What: “National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) networks, develops and supports the ecosystem that delivers high-quality creative experiences across communities and rural areas in the UK. The aim of the NRTF is to strengthen and support rural populations to bring professional work to their venues.

One Dance UK Logo



Who: “One Dance UK is the sector support organisation leading the way to a stronger, more vibrant and more diverse dance sector.”

What: “We present one clear voice to support, advocate, enhance and give profile to dance in the UK. Our aim is to provide information, resources and opportunities for a workforce that is well-equipped to secure dance’s prominence in the cultural landscape of the future.”

Opera UK Logo



Who: Opera UK is for anyone working and participating professionally in opera in the UK. Opera UK is for individuals, freelancers and organisations at all scales.
What: Opera UK aims to be a responsive support organisation that will strengthen the UK opera sector through collaboration, support and advocacy, becoming a resource for professional individuals as well as companies working in opera.

Outdoor Arts UK logo



Who: OutdoorArtsUK is a national membership and strategic organisation that aims to bring together the many diverse parts of the Outdoor Arts sector. OutdoorArtsUK celebrates the wonderful work, amazing talent and tremendous achievements of the brilliant individuals, companies and organisations working in this most accessible of art forms.

What: OutdoorArtsUK advocates for Outdoor Arts across cultural, governmental, public funding and private funding arenas. We develop the sector by providing practical information on good working practices and offer advice and guidance for new and experienced practitioners. We commission valuable reports and share important statistics to help our members make ever stronger cases for supporting the work. We encourage creative and beneficial connections between members and keep them informed of opportunities and funding possibilities. We visit festivals and events to hold a comprehensive knowledge of the latest national and international Outdoor Arts work and keep an eye out for emerging artists. We provide up-to-date information about professional training and development events and also offer comprehensive listings of what’s on where and when.

Pearle logo



Who: “The voice of music, performing arts and live performance organisations” across Europe

What: “Created in 1991, “Pearle * – Live Performance Europe” is:

The ‘Performing Arts Employers Association League Europe’;

The European Federation of Music and Live Performance Organizations.

Pearle * represents through its members more than 10,000 managers or theaters, concert venues, theater production companies, orchestras, operas, ballet and dance companies, festivals, promoters and other professional organizations in the performing arts in Europe.

Pearle * is the leading organization on EU and international regulatory affairs issues affecting daily operations or live performance organizations.

Pearle * is led by an executive committee elected by the members every two years.

People Dancing logo



Who: “The Foundation for Community Dance”

What: “People Dancing is the UK development organisation and membership body for those involved in creating opportunities for people to experience and participate in dance. Our membership reaches more than 4,500 dance professionals worldwide.

We have more than 30 years’ experience of working to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy dance. This work is also focused on driving excellence in community dance practice. We are inspired by our firm belief that everyone has a right to experience dance.”

PLASA logo



Who: The Professional Lighting and Sound Association – “PLASA is the lead international membership body for those who supply technologies and services to the event and entertainment industries.”

What: “Through our membership services and commercial activities, we provide a voice and platform for professionals who supply technology and creative solutions to live entertainment, theatre and events.”

PLASA supports its members by providing advisory and support services across business, technical, safety and regulatory issues, as well as a range of membership benefits, events and training courses, including three industry-recognised certification and training programs for riggers and production technicians.”

Production Managers Forum logo



Who: A Forum for Production Managers

What: “The Production Managers’ Forum (PMF) is a resource for anyone involved in the production or technical management of theatre or live events.

It enables members to share ideas, information and knowledge, and to connect with each other through the PMF website, social media channels, support hub, newsletters, regular forums and social events.”

PSA logo

PSA – The Production Services Association


Who: A trade association for companies and individuals involved in the live event production industry.

What: “Our aim is to represent, improve, educate and develop the business of technical production for live events. This is achieved by pooling the knowledge of the entire industry to create a single voice for the industry and a central resource for its members.

The issues that we deal with are those that affect the whole industry. The solutions we find are there for the whole industry. This can only be achieved with the help of the whole industry.”

Scene Change logo



Who: A community for Stage Designers

What: “aims to be an open, ever evolving, growing community, supporting ways of coming together and connecting as we navigate ourselves out of these stormy waters. It’s a place for all: set and costume designers (both established and emerging) associates, assistants. A place for freelance creatives within the industry to join us in dialogue and unity.”

Scottish Society of Playwrights



Who: The Scottish Society of Playwrights (SSP) is a membership organisation representing the interests of professional playwrights in Scotland.

What: The SSP is a collective voice to champion new writing in Scottish theatre. We advocate for the strategic support and development of new work. We host readings,workshops, and panel discussions to celebrate and debate the role of playwriting in Scotland’s cultural landscape.

Society of Authors logo



Who: “The SoA is the UK trade union for all types of writers, illustrators and literary translators, at all stages of their careers.”

What: “We have been advising individuals and speaking out for the profession for more than a century.

Members receive unlimited free advice on all aspects of the profession, including confidential clause-by-clause contract vetting, and a wide range of exclusive offers.

We campaign and lobby on the issues that affect authors and hold a wide range of events across the UK.”




Who: An organisation run by theatre designers for the benefit of theatre designers.

What: “SBTD advocates for designers at every stage of their careers.”

“As a registered charity, we have a responsibility to share and celebrate our work with the public. We do this via our exhibitions which take place every four years to coincide with the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space.”

SOLT logo

SOLT – THE SOCIETY OF London Theatre


Who: An organisation that works with, and on behalf of, our Members (producers, theatre owners and managers)

What: Assists and promotes theatregoing to the widest possible audience

“We deliver a range of services both to assist our members and to promote theatre going to the widest possible audience”

SDUK logo



Who: Professional trade organisation for stage directors across the UK.

What: “We are a membership organisation that represents the interests of stage directors and campaigns for better rights and working conditions. We aim to provide a sense of community and a unifying network for our members, and we offer support, training and professional development. SDUK is “by directors, for directors.”

Covid Specific Info: “The international outbreak of Covid-19 (Novel Coronavirus) will undoubtedly affect the lives of working directors and their creative colleagues. It’s business as usual for SDUK, as we work remotely and can keep an eye on all advice and updates as they come in. Any members with questions or seeking reassurance, please [click on the link], and get in touch with us if you want to bring anything to our attention.” www.stagedirectorsuk.com/covid-19-advice-for-directors/​

SMA logo



Who: “The SMA is the trade association for stage managers, providing advocacy and support”

What: “Advocacy – The SMA speaks up on behalf of stage managers, taking stage management issues to other bodies and organisations within the industry and beyond to find solutions to issues of all kinds affecting stage management


  • to do your work to the highest possible standard: the SMA provides training, information resources, a quarterly magazine, advice and helplines, mentoring and career development

  • to you as freelancer or employee around issues such as tax, contracts etc. as well as help finding work with the SMA’s famous Freelist (updated every month since 1964), an exclusive deal with Spotlight for SMA members only, a 25% discount with Mandy.com and jobs advertised on the members’ area of this website”

Stage One logo



Who: ‘a charity we support theatre producers and productions through educational and investment schemes’

What: ‘We facilitate a series of development programmes ranging from practical workshops, to financial awards. Unlike other arts funding, Stage One prides itself on supporting the producer and their career rather than just one specific project. You can find on this website further details on all our programmes and what would be most suited to you.’

Theatre and Dance NI logo



Who: “Theatre and Dance NI are a membership organisation and Northern Ireland’s leading support organisation for Theatre and Dance”

What: “Theatre and Dance NI aspire to create a more diverse industry which is fully inclusive and enriched by ambition, professionalism and, most of all, creative collaboration. Northern Ireland already has a great reputation for producing fantastic events within theatre, dance and other areas, but our goal is to build upon this and elevate the industry to another level. We do this by advocating, connecting and developing organisations and freelancers across Northern Ireland.”

UK Theatre logo



Who: A theatre and performing arts membership organisation for both organisations and individuals

What: Provides a range of training, events and other professional services.

“Share knowledge, bringing you together with the right people or providing practical advice, UK Theatre supports you and your work.”

Voluntary Arts logo



Who: “Voluntary Arts works to promote and increase active participation in creative cultural activities across the UK and Republic of Ireland.”

What: “To celebrate, encourage and champion people expressing themselves creatively in their everyday lives and practising their creativity socially with other people.”

We work across the UK and Republic of Ireland, with everyone who gets creative purely for the love of it. We also work with anyone who helps facilitate creative participation, those who fund it, provide spaces for it to happen, and the people who work alongside communities to support them in their creative endeavours.”

Wales Freelance Taskforce logo



Who: “We are a collection of freelancers from the UK Freelance Task Force responding to issues affecting freelancers in Wales.”

What: “Our practical and creative responses will be through time-limited projects. We are also collaborating with organisations with similar aims to ours on our collective near-term goal of government action and financial support for freelancers.”