FREELANCERS MAKE THEATRE WORK MEETING: FRIDAY 01 OCTOBER

Chair: Josie Underwood

Minutes: Alistair Cope

Present: Josie Underwood, Jake Orr, EJ Park, Alistair Cope, Leigh Toney, Emma Jayne Park, Paul Carey Jones, Vicki Mortimer, Nikki Edmonds, Sunita Hinduja

Apologies: , Kelsie Acton, Peter McKintosh, Susan Kempster, Chino Odimba, Bill Bankes-Jones,

Updates & reports:

  • Fundraising (PC)

-The good news is that we have received some more funding from the Maria Bjornson Foundation. We only had a couple of months of funding left but we now have finding secured through until next summer. This is great news and means we can work to become more freelance friendly and pursue the projects we have committed to. We are still looking for ‘long term funding’ and have more meetings lined up. Well done to everyone who was involved. A sigh of relief but also a moment to dig in and use this opportunity. 

VM – We talked in the Anti racism meeting about a fund for internal support

Jo- The funds received will cover the core costs of FMTW (Josie/Al, Otter, Zoom, Website etc) and we should absolutely look at finding other pots of money to support individual areas like anti-racism support etc.

EJ – Could we still ask for people (smaller ors etc) to pop a ‘bit of money into a pot’ ? 

JO – Absolutely, we talked about just this earlier this week on our fundraising meeting. We have already started writing a letter to ADs, EDs  about just this. We also talked about reaching out to ‘wealthy individuals’ etc for one off contributions. 

PC- Should the AD/ED letter be more specific asks? 

AC – Lets discuss this at the next Fundraising meeting as now we have core costs covered for the next few months, we could absolutely discuss specifics. 

  • Library Live call out (JU)

Olivia from Babylon Arts has asked if anyone would like to do some paid talks. 30 freelancers on Zoom for about an hour. All details in Slack under Press and Enquiries. 

  • Anti-racism (JU) 

Meetings are going well working through the Inc Arts Unlock portal. We don’t have a process currently for reporting instances of racism and how we get an external body to come in and facilitate this. There is a poll in Slack asking when the best time to look at the action points raised so far. Please come along.

  • Small and Mighty Acts (JU)

How can we move forward with this? 

AC- we’ve seen a lot of negative news too which is being called out on social media. We touched on this in our ‘Theatre Can Change’ idea earlier on the year but perhaps that was too complicated an ask. Should we do something similar and make it much simpler? Give us a statement and we will anonymise and get it live on our social channels.

NE – Noted that union membership has increased in response to the IATSE Stories instagram channel. Could we pull the positive stories from this and highlight them without having to get bogged down in the negative. There is a lack of trust and a worry that these negative stories can still be traced back to the individual. 

SH – There is a fear of speaking out. There is a real culture of punishing people for speaking their truth. I would love it if we could acknowledge that at the start of any campaign.

NE – Yes, in the costume community we get that. You have to trust who you are sending this information to. 

JU – We could use a google form for anonymity. 

SH – Could we use a standardised form? So they don’t need to bare their soul etc. If you don’t need to structure it yourself but we ask ‘provoking questions.’ Clearly there are ethical questions about that.

LT – It is about our transparency too.

AC- I don’t think anonymity as big an issue when we are asking for Small and Mighty acts. These are positive stories. We can still encourage anonymity but someone celebrating a good experience is different from someone sending us a horror story.

LT – Could we cover both basis and make sure that however we receive these stories is clear and transparent?

NE – There is an ethics issue and also a wellbeing issue in regards to absorbing all this information. We can signpost these places rather that FMTW have to absorb all the negativity. Could we encourage people to submit their bad stories to TheatreCrewStories and take FMTW out of the picture. We could even be the middleman and send submissions on others’ behalfs if they want more anonymity. FMTW is and should be a space for positivity. 

PCJ – Small and mighty acts should be an antidote to the bad stories. There is space for those stories and we can highlight those spaces, but here we are showing the good things that are happening to encourage others to do the same. 

Agenda points 

  • Serenity Prayer (draft on the drive – see agenda)

AC – We should use our values as a sort of “Serenity Prayer’ that are read out at the start of the meeting. Not all the values need to be read out but we should always say this is a an inclusive, accessible, diverse and none racists space. This will help group us and also anyone new joining to ‘hopefully’ feel safe in any room in which we are present.

EJ has written a draft of it (above)

JO + LT –  Love the idea

JU – Let’s start using it

JO – Should we create a procedure for this? This is how you start a meeting etc.

  • @TheatreFreelancerStories 

Covered in the ‘small and mighty acts’ discussion earlier

  • David Pugh SOLT/UK Theatre letter (draft on the drive – see agenda)

Lots of agreement that this letter should be sent to both SOLT and UK Theatre. This is a prime example of the ‘old boys club’ which is still prevalent and we should be aware that the people who read our letter might also be a part of that old boys club.

Should we give them time to respond and say we will make the letter public (along with other stories) if we hear nothing from them?

  • Call out Newsletter
    • Wellbeing (draft on the drive – see agenda)
    • Research (draft on the drive – see agenda)
    • Lobbying (draft on the drive – see agenda)

JU – We should turn all of these into one newsletter ‘ask’ which then links to more info about the individual group.

AC – We should make sure the application process is the same for each (Google form?)

JO – What data are we asking for? Should we be asking for data so we can monitor and report on group balance etc.

JU – What is the process for going through the applications etc? Should we have a meeting about that? Yes.

  • Offies response from Geoffrey Brown (in slack)

Action points 

  • Josie to email Olivia from babylon about the Library Call out offer to clarify some bits. 
  • Josie – Set up a Small and Mighty acts meeting to discuss the conversation in the minutes above. 
  • Josie? Set up a ‘how to start a meeting’ doc. Pronouns, ‘Josie speaking’, serenity prayer etc.
  • Everyone – Start using our ‘serenity prayer’
  • Josie – Add a response time limit to the David Pugh letter and then send it on.
  • ?? – Turn all of the newsletter invites into one newsletter ‘ask’ which then links to more info about the individual group.
  • Josie – Set up a meeting to discuss the process of onboarding volunteers from the newsletter ASAP
  • Josie – to respond to Geoffrey Brown Offies email
  • PCJ – to share the Brexit one page document to everyone for feedback on Slack.
  • Everyone – participate in slack poll for anti-racism action points meeting?

AOB 

PCJ – The Brexit Working group have started working on a one page working document about the Visa issues and Waver Agreements. PC has a meeting with MPs about this on the 18th alongside the Musicians’ Union.

Upcoming Friday Meetings:

Date:           Chair –                             Minutes

15th Oct       Peter McKintosh                 Josie Underwood

22nd Oct       Peter McKintosh                 Josie Underwood

29th Oct       Peter McKintosh                 Josie Underwood

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