Chair: Josie Underwood

Minutes: Josie Underwood (Light minutes!!!)

Present: Paul Carey Jones, Jake Orr, Paule Constable, Vicki Mortimer, Leigh Toney, Athena Stevens, Freddie Crossle

Apologies: Peter McKintosh, Ben Arkell, EJ Park, Alistair Cope, Bill Bankes-Jones

Updates & reports: 


  • Meeting with the Jerwood Foundation to kickstart a relationship. We met with the director of Arts. First introduction for us for them to be fully aware of what we have been doing. They have been going through a big change operationally, and it was great to hear that they are willing to challenge the way they currently operate. They would love to support but don’t have the funds at the moment, but we will stay in touch.
  • Submitted an application for Maria Bjornson Trust, awaiting a response.

New members call out

  • Peter put together a call out for FMTW volunteers to invite people they think would be interested in joining FMTW to come to an introductory meeting next Friday 24th, this was circulated last week and Josie did another call out this week. Please let Josie know if you have invited anyone along.
  • It was discussed that the current focus areas of FMTW are; working on a review of freelancer status (tax codes, employment, ‘financial no man’s land’ – discussed below in Arts Council/SOLT), freelancer symposium/festival (see below in Arts Council/SOLT), brexit (see below in Brexit), Small and Mighty Acts project (see below in AOB). These could be focuses for new volunteers.


  • Current volunteers to invite new potential FMTWers (All)

Offies Reception

  • This week Athena brought it to our attention that the OffWestEnd Award reception was going to take place in an inaccessible location. FMTW rallied together and sent emails and tweets that lead to the event being canceled and then last minute relocated to an accessible location (which, again, made the event inaccessible in nature due to the last minute time frames).
  • AS – For everyone to rally allowed me to rally. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the group. It took me bringing in additional voices for [the Offies] to listen.
  • JO – Taking a personal break from socials at the moment, was there a wider reaction in terms of the outcry? Answer: yes.
  • PC – A brilliant thing to share from this action is that this rallying is a great model to use moving forward in terms of supporting freelancers. Perhaps this is a Newsletter? No pressure on Athena to write this.
  • AS – Has time to write Newsletter
  • PC – Mimi has written a Newsletter for this week about the cabinet reshuffle, so this could be for next week.


  • Newsletter around the rallying involved in the Offies response. (AS)

Theatre Artists Fund

  • PC – SOLT administered a fund throughout the pandemic that Sam Mendes raised a lot of money for – £1000 for each freelancer. “A lot of things for lot of people, to build a sense of community”. We had always talked to them about how they might do more long term work, and there is a keenness now to do this work. All the previous funders are still very interested in being involved (Netflix etc). They have asked Indu, Paule and Tom Piper to be on a focus group. It feels like there is a glimmer of hope. Diversity and inclusivity is at the heart of every conversation they have.
  • JU – Can we be doing anything at the moment to help?
  • PC – When this starts it would be very good to share this information with the freelance community, as one of the issues is massively the opacity of these conversations.


  • Continue the conversation with the Theatre Artist Fund (PC)

Arts Council/SOLT

  • VM – Ongoing conversation with Arts Council / SOLT / Kate Varah from the Old Vic / Julian Bird / Michelle Dickson from ACE / Paule & Vicki from FMTW (Chino, Sunita, Arran & Hazel were a part of earlier conversations) about what strands of work need to be done for the freelance community. There was a meeting last week after quite a substantial pause in conversation. They have identified that the piece of work that needs to be done is the “dry work” around self employment status, tax codes and the ‘no man’s land’ financially, which is a mess and makes us very vulnerable when things go wrong. This feels like a doable piece of work, it is researchable. Arts Council are extremely willing to help support this work. Our part of this as FMTW would be to apply for the funding for the project management, and then we employ a project manager and the freelancers to be involved.
  • JU – What is the next step?
  • PC – Follow up with arts council and hash out what it would look like.
  • VM – The Arts Council (national) was really keen to keep up the idea of a symposium/festival.
  • JU – Should we have a meeting about the festival/symposium?
  • JO – Yes, maybe after the onboarding week. In the meantime it would be good to identify the current FMTW volunteers who might be interested in being involved in the festival/symposium.
  • VM – We should make sure to ask upfront FMTW volunteers from the devolved nations, so that the conversation stays about a UK wide project.
  • PC – We can follow up with Arts Council about fundraising for both the financial research and also the 


  • Ask the wider FMTW group if anyone is interested in being involved in the symposium/festival project (JU)
  • Follow up with Arts Council and SOLT (PC/VM)


  • PC – After the cabinet reshuffle, and the introduction of Nadine Dorries as culture secretary it is really important that we motivate responses from art loving tories. It is clear how she is going to approach her running of DCMS and culture wares, and we need to don’t agree with her so we need them on side.
  • PCJ – The cabinet reshuffle correlates almost exactly to the internal party politics – the guys who’ve been demoted correlate almost exactly to their approval ratings within the Tory party. There’s no ethos or ideology behind the reshuffle, it is purely to do with internal Tory party politics, and ultimately, clinging on to power for its own sake. So that is where the effective pressure can come from – within the Tory party.
  • AS – (Celine Dione plays in the background) Brexit isn’t my thing, but tories like me so I am here to help on this.


  • Brexit meeting to be planned next week (Mimi Doulton)


  • SMALL (and Mighty) ACTS invite is ready to go out today with the minutes. Proposing a meeting quite soon, probably through the evenings. (PC/JU)
  • Anti racism meeting to be planned for next week (JU)
  • Josie and Al to follow up with Richard Watts (JU, AC)
  • Athena has a cabin in the middle of nowhere in gloucestershire for 6 weeks. If anyone wants to join, please do!!
  • JU – Wanted to note that there are a lot of freelancers being put in very vulnerable positions with jobs where working conditions aren’t up to scratch or expectations of the freelancers is impossibly high and wondered if there is anything FMTW could do to show solidarity with those freelancers in those positions?
    • AS – Starting by naming these realities can be really strong. The reason unspoken trauma is so powerful is because trauma thrives in silence.
    • PC – There is a distinction between walking away from a job because of individual trauma and personal state of mind and industry wide standards that are not being adhered to.
    • VM – The latter symptomatic of the times where buildings and orgs are being stretched in all ways (finances and resources). We as freelancers are being asked to solve impossible problems. The individual experience is that the individual freelancer takes the cost of the decision to walk away from a project?
    • AS – When does this become vigilante syndrome? Suggests watching The Chair, Netflix!
    • PCJ – There are two situations being described; 1) “Offies” example (above) is something that is very clearly wrong and publicly calling out was the right thing to do. 2) Example where a company weren’t offering enough money so walking away is right for the individual, but also calling them out would not be appropriate.
    • PC – This talks to our worth as freelancers, and highlights the precarious nature of being a theatre freelancer, particularly at this time.
  • ACTION – Is this a newsletter? Working conditions and freelancers’ right to choose without putting future employment at risk.


  • Current volunteers to invite new potential FMTWers (All)
  • Newsletter around the rallying involved in the Offies response. (AS)
  • Continue the conversation with the Theatre Artist Fund (PC)
  • Ask the wider FMTW group if anyone is interested in being involved in the symposium/festival project (JU)
  • Follow up with Arts Council and SOLT (PC/VM)
  • Brexit meeting to be planned next week (Mimi Doulton)
  • SMALL (and Mighty) ACTS invite to go out today with the minutes (PC/JU)
  • Anti racism meeting to be planned for next week (JU)
  • Josie and Al to follow up with Richard Watts (JU, AC)