Over the last three years Freelancers Make Theatre Work has been in conversation with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). A rotating handful of freelance volunteers meet a DCMS representative every 6 weeks to exchange understanding, to inform their team of our experience as freelancers in live performance, to update them on changes to the working landscape, and to report our data and findings.

It is a genuinely valuable conversation, giving FMTW an insight into the activities of the department and it is  a connection we work with carefully. We’re incredibly grateful to the staff at DCMS who take the time to listen to us and pass on that information – through this dialogue we make a connection with the civil servants who provide continuity from one culture minister –  and from one government – to the next. The impression is of a team who are genuinely curious, and invested in the potential for better arts policy.

Recently, in recognition of our work, DCMS invited those who have been involved in these conversations to their event in the gardens of Buckingham Palace focussing on the Creative Industries. It turned out only one of us could go, and it was me – an unlikely candidate – but I cycled over, locked my bike to the garden fence and joined the thousands of individuals from across the arts sectors on a sunny Wednesday afternoon in May. Though initially I felt a little skeptical and, as I suggested, completely the wrong person, I was very proud to be there to represent the work of the brilliant people in FMTW. I wore a little pin that my colleague Vicki Mortimer had given me from a William Kentridge exhibition last year – a megaphone – remembering, always, that we are listeners, mouthpieces and amplifiers for our community of freelancers.

-Freddie Crossley (Freelance Theatre Maker)

Plates of small sandwiches and cakes