Chair: Peter McKintosh

Minutes: Josie Underwood

Present: Alistair Cope, Josie Underwood, Peter McKintosh, Kelsie Acton, Mimi Doulton, Prema Mehta, Paule Constable, Nikki Edmonds, Jake Orr, Susan Kempster, Steven Hoggett, Ella Taylor, Chino Odimba, Athena Stevens, Beth Steel, Shankho Chaudhuri, Freddie Crossley, Emma Jayne Park, Tarek 

Apologies: Andrew Whyment, Jess Murrain, Paul Carey Jones, Tom Piper

Leaving early: Vicki Mortimer

Updates and reports

  1. Josie Updates!
    1. Quick turnaround response

JU – to share Shankho’s letter on slack

  1. Data sharing from Leighs survey

Deadline to be put on slack

  1. In Good Company

CO – going in as pairs to these sorts of meetings would be a good move going forward

PC – Happy to go into these rooms as support for someone who hasn’t done it before, but would encourage any others to join too!

MD – volunteer for the In Good Company panel

  1. Newsletter

PC & AS – to write newsletter in regards to current events. EJ to add on a Scottish perspective and John for NI and WALES

  1. The Stage Future of Theatre

AC – event has worked very well, interesting conversations, the chat bar function has not been as 

Conversation with ED VAISEY re theatre talking with government. As an industry we need to engage the public more – similar to a football stadium, at the heart of a community. Different departments work or don’t work in government – responsible to different areas and wont take on anything that another department might be able to handle, and freelancers aren’t really covered by any department.

Digital theatre – how it is monetised and consumed. Is digital content going to continue onwards from the pandemic.

Audience confidence in theatres – hugely confident audiences , they felt safe with the theatres but confidence was lacking in other people 

Alistair at the stage pushed back to Oliver Dowden on the 3 out of 10 questions.

Very full days, so much information over three days.

Videos will be sent out to attendees to the event.



  • to share Shankho’s quick turnaround response letter on slack – JU
  • Set a deadline for responses to the sharing of Leigh’s survey – JU


  1. Process Working Group update

AC – constructive meeting, how often we meet, sustainability of the group, onboarding new people, how best to work. The process and strategy group are very important for the larger group, so talked about ways to 

Onboarding – open day, informal, talk about what we are doing at FMTW and the people can contact us if they are still interested. Specific to areas, skills and diversity. Also using this onboarding process to widen our skill set.

Core group – positive reaction to this from Leigh’s survey. At the moment the process and strategy groups are the core groups, who then report back to the wider group.

Regular times to meet – Friday morning meeting for process and strategy (one hour each) and then there is a wider group meeting once a fortnight or once a month.

PC – how do we want to action these things? They all feel like actionable events but how do we agree to do these things?

PMcK – Propose that the Friday meetings

MD – Skills audit within the group so that we know what we have within the group. Earlier friday morning meetings so people can 

VM – should we put together a list of our skills and also a list of the skills we need

EJ – An hour might not be enough to get into (particularly strategy) so perhaps a 90 minute/2 hour meetings simultaneously might work

AC – create a calendar with all the key upcoming dates (that we know about) so we can be prepared and less reactive for ‘some’ situations.




  1. Strategy Working Group update

JU – monday evening strategy group meeting 5-8 and then confirm friday meeting next week 

EJ – three groups suggested – strategy, process and URGENT!

PM – would it be ok to drop in for an hour to the strategy meeting (PC yes, but 

MD – live google doc for strategy meeting so anyone that can join for a short time is able to catch up

NE – one off working through dinner breaks, we cannot create a culture where working through breaks is ok!

AS/EJ – strategy group needs to be forward thinking, reactions to current events/news is a different thing

SC – How do we be forward thinking and reactive is the crux of our philosophical question at this point. At this point it would be good to 

MD – strategy could meet one week to talk long term and the next to talk short term

EJ  – different people work in different ways and sometimes smaller groups with more focus are helpful for preventing burnout

PC – strategy group is vital for this moment for onboarding and funding, so there is an urgency, but it 

SH – short statement from everyone at the beginning of strategy group to define how each member thinks the strategy group works



  • Strategy meeting 5-8 monday evening
  • Friday meeting next week to be split between Process and Strategy – to be decided whether they are simultaneous or separate


  1. Agenda points 
  1. Tarek Iskander BAC

“The work that FMTW are doing is so critical and important, as a sector we really need you and support you.”

BAC in conversation with the mayor of london – have been approached where £200,000 worth of investment goes directly to freelancers around October half term 2021. Would FMTW be interested in partnering in a light touch way to support this project as a ‘critical friend’ to make sure that BAC processes are as good as can be, and could we share these calls, and nominate someone to join the panel.

SK – doesn’t sound like a lot of money – what is the mayors office hoping can be done with this budget?

TI – range of events over london, outdoor, with the aim that over 100 freelancers are engaged in the week long project. Different scale events.

EJ – “critical friends” coming in too late is an issue so when would you like for us to come on board, and what sort of budget 

TI – £10,000 to cover any project manager roles, plus a separate budget to other associates that come in to nominate freelancers. Not a lot of money, hence the light touch ask. We are about 7 weeks into the project.

EJ – would the associates nominating freelancers be organisations with power who will nominate freelancers in their image

TI – this could be much more freelancer led. Multi-artform project

SC – these conversations have to happen very quickly, but how does this effect our capacity as FMTW. Do we need to nominate FMTW ambassadors so that we 

SH – is BAC the host venue or will there be other venues that you will be working with? How involved are the mayors office in the process? Also, freelancers know freelancers, so in that sense we can be useful

TI – BAC may not be involved as a host venue at all. Buskers for london and other organisations will work with freelancers and councils to deliver this event. BAC are there to make the event accessible and efficient.

The Mayors office trust BAC, but want to be involved in the decision making process. Does not feel that there are any conflict of interest. Organisations suggested by the Mayors office were if anything slightly un-imaginative. Their concern is only talking to a small number of freelancers.

PC – we are an open door, so we are open to freelancers that BAC might not know

FMTW offer an articulated group, means that the mayor office feel less precarious with us.

Are all events performance or are there educational events etc on there?



  • To have a group discussion around Tarek’s offer and send over further questions we might have


  1. Responses to latest gov news (10.40-11.15)

PC – july 19th is a massive precipice. Gov are not aiming for non-socially distanced performance any time soon.

DCMS have already started working without insurance means that we are not going to have adequate insurance

Commercial sector is on the brink of collapse – funding model that we work within, the subsidised sector relies on the commercial sector to exist.

MD – we don’t have time to have weeks of conversations in P&S groups, we need to do something now

NE – in a number of steering groups, the commercial and music sector 

Freelancers are not being brought into the conversations about dates moving etc

Commercial sector are bringing back their companies with 11 month contracts, entire recasts are being pushed to summer next year, freelancers are losing opportunities

Short term message is that production teams are going ahead with 

We have a culture problem as an industry

EJ – the sector is splitting, because the sectors within the industry dont know how to connect with one another, FMTW has the potential to provide the information to the industry to create industry solidarity. How can our lobbying bring everyone together?

PC – Majority of non-commercial subsidies buildings are relying on commercial models to feed themselves

BS – testing/passports for full capacity?

PC – testing events are to feed sport, not theatre. DCMS are not sharing information on the test events, as the information is not reliable

AS – this is the most dangerous time as the virus now has a vaccine to work off of, to mutate against. There is a real possibility that this point could lead to something even worse.

NE – Nick allen clinical director for birmingham royal ballet, they are looking at a socially distanced model until next april

CO – Rush to open shows again is very stressful. Buildings and organisations are not doing any audience care work. Reservation from TI’s offer is that we can’t get into a position where we are a critical friend, but how is the criticism received. Good will is involved, but a set of values would be good to see in terms of how we are engaged, and how freelancers are engaged. We have a responsibility to take care of audiences.

AC – Tash Bennett, gm of NT saying that the opening of touring internationally is not being planned until 2024/25. Talking about UK theatre opening, but other venues all over the world are also a problem.

CO – Freelancers can be employed to come up with new ways of communicating with audience and show that care and real engagement

NE – Disney are only internationally touring in NZ and AUS, everything else has been pulled due to COVID or Brexit. There are a lot of people, including myself, that do not know how we can stay in this industry. We need building-based people to be our allies too, they have more security and can be great allies – do we need to reach out more widely? Burn out is happening already and buildings can help with this.

MD – How do we find the energy to keep campaigning? There aren’t enough jobs, so how do we make the case that we need more work whilst also 

PM – routes to recovery, gather views and survey results to take to orgs and buildings



  • to share shankho’s quick turnaround response letter on slack – JU
  • To share a deadline for leigh’s survey (monday) – JU
  • Mimi and Paule to attend In Good Company 
  • Paule, Athena, EJ to collaborate on newsletter responding to current events (John and Steffan to be asked for NI and Wales perspective)
  • Strategy meeting 5-8 monday evening
  • Friday meeting next week to be split between Process and Strategy – to be decided whether they are simultaneous or separate
  • To have a group discussion around Tarek’s offer and send over further questions we might have