FMTW Meeting Minutes 25 March 2022

Chair: Josie Underwood / Andrew Macklin

Minutes: Kelsie Acton

Present: Josie Underwood, Paule Constable, Andrew Macklin, Kelsie Acton, Alistair Cope, Jake Orr, Freddie Crossley, Athena Stevens,  Paul Carey Jones, Peter McKintosh, Matt Humphrey, Emma Jayne Park, Vicki Mortimer

Apologies: Bill Bankes-Jones

  1. Welcome, introductions and value statements.


  1. Updates & reports (9.30-10.00):
    • Technically at the end but likely going to extend it – maybe The Stage and BECTU will support it?
    • Message it as “extended for a short while longer”
    • DCMS was not present and engaged in town hall – could we have an actual dialogue? 
      • Something to raise at the next meeting with DCMS?
    • Generally townhall felt positive and useful
    • Use Twitter spaces to do the same thing
  • April Meetings (JU)
    • Today is last meeting for a few weeks
    • We’re still doing stuff, just not meeting 8th, 15th, 21st
  • Freelance Cancellation Agreement (BBJ)
    • Bill was looking for info on this, but EJ and Al gave him some things
  1. Agenda points (10.00-11.15 with 10 min Break)

How best to move forward

Reflection on recent FMTW activity and a discussion of forward direction, facilitated by Andrew Macklin (a wonderful FMTW volunteer that has been delivering our Freelance Problem Solving sessions). Anyone who would like to join this conversation is welcome!

What does moving forward mean now for FMTW? 

What is the summary of where we have been?

  • Freelancers were shut out of the room and were involved in conversations that affected them
  • Learning to talk to each other
  • Freelancers are the vital organs, power structures are the skeleton

Where are we now?

  • Something has shifted, but what are we doing now? 
  • Information void, are we part of it now?
  • We have managed to join the conversation
  • But we have to figure out what we are and what are our bottom lines
  • We have slowed down because we are hitting the same barriers, the current chaos means that change is hard
  • Or, are we not discussing things because the powers that be don’t want to?
  • The system is increasingly precarious
  • There is no going back to normal, but people do want to go back to normal

What do freelancers need from FMTW going forward?

  • Could FMTW be really considered going forward? We’re all really thinking about burn-out on a number of levels
  • “Getting out house in order”?
  • Joined up thinking between freelancers and organisations
  • Freelancer survey being the place join up the thinking
  • Workforce gap in technical and crafts 
  • But the existing systems are not good for people coming in?
  • Anti-racism & anti-ableism training for freelancers?

Radical Idealism – If we had the money, power and access, what would we do?

  • Enforce a fair freelance contract across all sectors – agree your aims and values at contracting
  • Safeguarding and complaint process for freelancers for ALL theatres are reviewed by professionals and up to snuff
  • Consistent reporting system that stops things from disappearing
  • Shifting the dynamics of power, freelancers developing work and taking it to organisations
  • The work we make is ephemeral, so we are treated as ephemeral. This narrative needs to change.
  • Actioning the Big Freelancer Report

What is the next chapter?

  • It is actually doable!
  • Have a focus on pathways into the industry and how we’re engaging those people? How will they stay in the industry?
  • We speak to freelancers and we talk to the rest of the industry – accountability!
  1. Action points (11.15-11.20)
  • Josie will create a suggestion box for future activity
  • Josie will share anything that is already submitted in the suggestion box for the board meeting
  • Al will do the external comms on extending the Big Freelancers Survey
  • Josie will do the internal comms on extending the Big Freelancers Survey
  1. AOB (11.20-11.30)

Ways to figure out what we can do in future – Josie will create a suggestion box