09:30-11:30, FRIDAY 12 March

Present: Kelsie Acton, Ben Arkell, Paule Constable, Hazel Holder, Anna Fleischle, Peter McKintosh, Vicki Mortimer, Tom Piper, Beth Steel, Andrew Whyment, Mimi Doulton, Jake Orr, Nikki Edmonds, Titas Halder, Athena Stevens, Steffan Donnelly, Emma Cameron, Rachel Bagshaw, Anne McNulty, Alistair Cope, Jess Murrain,  Steven Hoggett, Shankho Chaudhuri, Jack Hudson, Paul Carey Jones. 


Otter is an app that transcribes audio conversation. It was introduced to us by Kelsie as an access tool for FMTW to use in our meetings, which we started to do immediately after a brief how-to explanation. 


The Big Freelancer Report is now finished. It is a brilliant independent report by Lyndsey Turner that FMTW has given project support too as well as Arts Council England. There is incredibly valuable information in it that we want to help put out into the world. A question Lyndsey has around the distribution is how to communicate the report in different forms: graphic and audio. A working group is needed to look at how FMTW may break the report down to communicate some of the material. Vicki Mortimer will pick up that question next week. Please put your name in the Slack channel if you want to be involved. 


A hugely productive APPTLE meeting last week where common threads and shared directions among many different organisations are now appearing. Some of those shared threads are around mentorship and encouragement of early careers and entering graduates, another strand focuses on how we return to work with an inclusion of well being, metal health, and work life balance. Nikki Edmonds minuted that meeting and will share them – or an edited version – with us on Slack. 


Next Friday’s 9.30 meeting (March 19th) will be the first ‘Trans & Non-Binary Training session, the second will follow in 2 weeks time. As the regular general meeting will not take place on such training days, it was suggested that next Friday March 19th  we would have a shorter catch-up meeting at 5pm, followed by an FMTW Zoom social from 6pm. BYOB! 

EJ will send out details of both ‘Anti-Racism’ and ‘Trans & Non-Binary’ training plans to the group over the weekend.


The National Theatre’s New Work Department will be hosting FMTW for a week of workshops running from the 12th of April until the 16th. The workshops will comprise of ten sessions across five days and cover a range of disciplines – writing, directing, lighting, design, sound, etc. Each workshop will be led by an experienced creative in their field. The workshops will be free and open to any freelancer to participate in. The selection process will be from an online lucky dip with 12 spaces available for each workshop. Beth is leading on this project with support from Andy if anyone has thoughts or queries. 


Information is so important to a freelancer’s wellbeing. A problem throughout the pandemic (and beyond) has been so many freelancers having very little access to information and feeling utterly removed form the industry. How to address that is the project’s aim and it is at beginning stages. A proposal to enlist David Lan and Jack Gambol was floored. A valuable point about approaching someone knowledgeable at distributing content on online platforms.  A point about it not just being England focused but encompassing of the four nations. A question about what information will be shared – will be there be jobs info for example? A working group will be set up by Titas Halder for this project, as this project needs to be built from the ground up with access in mind can anyone from the access group join this?


A core values meeting took place on Wednesday. All the ideas from previous documents have now been distilled into 9 working points. But the values document of the Brain child Festival (which we admire) has made us reflect on our working points, we now feel ours are too abstract and academic in feel rather than about human beings in actual spaces. We want to look next week at addressing that as it’s got to help us carry what we’ve learnt together out into work spaces. The next core values meeting is 12-1 pm on the 17th of March.


This conversation has begun but needs to be prioritised. A budget needs to be put together to clarify what financial resources FMTW needs to continue its work into the future.  Jake Orr has, brilliantly, volunteered to take the lead on this until an administrator is secured. Supporting this work is vital so look on slack for updates. 


A meeting was held earlier in the week around the planned gathering of data on freelancers pay by setting up a google form. The principle aim being to produce a document that has thousands of entries on rates of pay so a freelancer can check on specific going rates. This is a piece of work that we would like to do with AAPTLE so that the data is as widely representative of the many diverse roles within the industry as possible. The aim is to empower freelancers so that they may be informed and therefore more confident when speaking to employers about rates of pay. 


The Future Labs was a big project that took place last year. It was a series of discussions between freelancers and representatives of buildings and organisations. It received Arts Council England funding for ten panels and reports were written for each. We have done 9 of the panels so far and a discussion about what that 10th panel will be is now underway. Another question is what do we want to do with the findings from the Future Labs – do we want to do a social media campaign shares the provocations? The Future Lab reports are found in the google drive and should be read in order to think further about actionable ideas from those conversations and ways to creatively share and use them. 


A year on from when theatre’s first went dark we have decided to acknowledge the occasion by writing a collective and collaborative newsletter that looks ahead. Vicki Mortimer is asking us all to email her one sentence that responds to the question “A year on from now, I hope…” about our visions and hopes for the future of our industry. 

Upcoming Friday Meetings:

19th March: ‘Trans & Non-Binary Training’ (group 1) – Chair EJ, Minutes tbc

19th March: Catch-up meeting 5-6pm. Chair TBC, minutes TBC

26th March:  Chair Ben Arkell, Minutes tbc

2nd April: ‘Trans & Non-Binary Training’ (group 2) – Chair EJ, Minutes tbc

2nd April: Catch-up meeting 5-6pm. Chair TBC, minutes TBC

9th April: Chair Anna Fleischle, Minutes (New administrator)