FMTW Meeting Minutes 6th May 2022

Chair: Josie Underwood

Minutes: Alistair Cope (sorry, again) 

Present: Paule Constable, Alistair Cope, Freddie Crossley, Kelsie Acton, Paule Constable, Peter McKintosh, Mimi Doulton, Emma Jayne Park

Apologies: Paul Carey Jones, Nikki Edmonds, Bill Bankes-Jones

  1. Welcome & introductions

We talked a bit about the elections for our welcome.

Values 9 and 5 were read out.

Our anti racism statement was also read out.

  1. Updates & reports: 
  • Julian Bird: Paule chatted to Julian about the Cinderella fiasco and the SOLT/Uk Theatre 10 principles. We sent an email to SOLT immediately after the Cinderella fiasco. Julian immediately passed this on to the entire SOLT board and then Paule followed up with a call. Julian is only in post for another 6 weeks. He said “SOLT can’t comment on individual producers who are members”. Equity are raising a legal case but we aren’t sure what that is as the producers are only obliged to give two weeks notice and they have given 5. Julian felt that the Equity legal situation puts SOLT?UK Theatre in an awkward position. That may be the case but that means the 10 principles are empty and vapid. The SOLT board need to step out of their comfort zone to support the workforce. Julian has suggested we speak to the SOLT board so we can show how destructive this action is. Paule feels we need to find people to attend that meeting with first had experience of the situation. A costume person, Summer Strallen etc.
    I feel we should write to them again and express that ‘we can’t wait for statements on the 10 principles “after the dust settles.” This needs to be addressed now.
    JU – I’m confused. What do SOLT actually do.
    PC – They are gatekeepers. Gatekeepers to DCMS, Government etc. They are important to us. Equity represents performers and Stage Managers but that isn’t going to help everyone. They are making a point to show value (I believe).

PM – This is all Tory party-itas. Kick it down the road and see what someone else does before we say anything. They need to step up. If not now then when!?

PC – I’m livid. If Equity’s legal challenge is shutting down everything else, then its all just noise.

PM – Should we not acknowledge and comment on that?

JU – Should we create a space for the freelancers who have lost work?

AC – There a few people who have steeped forward to offer support and guidance but there are so many stakeholders in this including agents and representatives that I’m not sure where we sit with in all this.

PMc – Is our place not to publicly call out goliath? That is supporting freelancers. Calling things out and challenging. SOLT have still not answered our public provocation of ‘Where are the 10 principles in all this?’

PC – I think we should give the SOLT board the opportunity to respond. But we need to make sure they aren’t just kicking the can down the road.

JU – This meeting with the board needs to happen soon.

AC – Sharing of information is also important. Who collates it and who writes it up? Its great we are getting this info and in the room but we have to communicate it to our community. How do we share (what we can) and when?

PC – To do what we aspire to do, we need better relationships with the Unions. We need to know what they are doing so we can see who they aren’t thinking about. 

  1. Agenda points (10.00-11.15)
  • Who are and what is FMTW (The big question) – This part of the meeting was recorded as it was wide ranging and quite difficult to distill into minutes.

PC – There was a board meeting last night. Do we carry on? What for? And how? 

The paradox of FMTW is we can’t ‘endorse’ anything as we don;t actually exist? Vicki’s provocation was does FMTW just get in the way, should we be here at all. Hazel said that if we stop, no-one will do it.

  • Consensus in the room that we need to keep going, question is HOW.

We went through the document created by Paule from Trevor McDonalds suggestions and voted on whether we should be doing these things, with an eye to next week making decisions on HOW these things can be done and WHAT we need to make sure they happen.

Points in red are still to be voted on and discussed – this will be done next friday after updates, and then we will continue on to the HOW/WHAT conversation.

This conversation was recorded – SEE RECORDING HERE.

  1. Action points
  • Write up Julian Bird meeting and ongoing Cinderella movement to share with the community. 
  • Continue conversation that was had today around FMTW Questions!
  • Josie to upload the symposium resource documents.
  1. AOB

Symposium resources request

The ACE Symposium are creating a sample database of freelance resources and have asked that we contribute a couple so that they have a pool of resources to exemplify how this database will work (with enough capacity!). We discussed and decided on the Big Freelancer Report, March for the Arts Guide for Freelancers and Arts Organisations and Culture in Crisis.