FREELANCERS MAKE THEATRE WORK
WEEKLY MEETING MINUTES
09:30-11:30, FRIDAY 18th September
Present: Kelsie Acton, Natalie Abrahami*, Esi Acquaah-Harrison, Sally Beck Wippman, Nafeesah Butt, Paule Constable, Alistair Cope, Freddie Crossley, Cynthia Duberry, Anna Fleischle, Sunita Hinduja, Jack Hudson, Matt Humphrey, Susan Kempster, Peter McKintosh, Prema Mehta, Vicki Mortimer, Arran Pallan, Emma Jayne Park, Tom Piper, Beth Steel, Athena Stevens, Ella Taylor (* first attendance)
Website and social media
- 800 unique views of the Future Labs page
- One of our most popular posts was Freddie’s succinct write-up of the debate in parliament. The suggestion was made that we make reports about news items brief and to the point
- It was suggested that it would be good to partner as much as possible with Excluded UK.
- Ongoing discussion about the accelerated return to work and the risk of desired changes not being implemented in this rush back. Questions of returning on less money and for how long.
- The importance of maintaining AAPTLE after a more complete return to work across the sector was noted.
- While the restrictions on public gathering are still in place, we discussed coming up with an alternative in order to help maintain a sense of community and moral support. There was a suggestion that people be encouraged to organise their own small gatherings, even virtual ones.
- It was decided that a FMTW tea break on Thursdays at 11 would be trialled during October. (EJ)
- Next week’s newsletter will be a round of up all the various projects FMTW are doing, from the perspective of a newer member.
- Future newsletter to ask people to feed back to us about their returning to work issues.
Guest speaker suggestions / Festival UK 2020*
- We discussed whether it would be useful for Martin Green to come and speak to FMTW. It was suggested that Bishi Bhattacharya be invited to come to speak with us instead, in order to have a different voice and perspective.
- Excluded UK will be invited to speak next week (Paule)
- Holly Maples (Lecturer E15) will also be invited (Paule)
Industry Practice going forward
- With some return to work happening, those who are beginning to work are being confronted with the possibility that personal decisions as to what they’re prepared to accept now may carry the weight of determining how things will be going forward. It was suggested that it’s important to ask all people going back to work to pause and consider agreements before signing, given that these may affect how things are going forward.
- In some cases, lower than pre-pandemic fees are being offered, and these reduced fees are being justified by sometimes apparently legitimate arguments around the difficulties that organisations are facing and “better something than nothing” mentality.
- There are questions as to whether royalties will be honoured where shows are re-started.
- It was brought up that on the job freelancers are still on their own, in spite of the increase in freelancer support and new organisations such as FMTW. There was a suggestion that some guidelines for freelancers, that could be publicised and readily available, be drawn up, so that freelancers have something to back themselves up with. This should also go to agents.
- How do you advocate for yourself and the artists around you? How to start difficult conversations. Actions: New project – ‘Good Trouble’ – a worksheet for self-advocacy in situ.
- Document about Covid practices – Stage management – needs to be sent to Ads
- Likewise, a document of core values and good practice that could be sent out to ADs and others.
- We spoke about core values going back, that are not just about money and must be about preventing potential loss of diversity and from marginalised communities.
- It was noted that confidentiality agreements are never obligatory.
- Transparency is the “radical act”. We spoke about talking publicly about the deals being made.
FMTW Engagement & Core Values Document
- FMTW to confirm and think about core values, how we work. An initial document has been drafted and this should be read and discussed over the coming days in order to be signed off on next Friday.
Who should we be inviting into the group?
- We discussed the need to see who is missing in the room, in order that new people fill any gaps. This should be across all diversity and skill sets.
- The notion of devolved government was brought up, leading us to question if FMTW needs to have regional groups? Regional identity perhaps needs to be catered to.
- Jack Hudson is officially the producer of Future Labs. ADs have been invited. Freelance panellists from outside of FMTW are sending in their applications.
- Google doc where FMTW can add their names to one of the three sessions.
- We agreed that we (FMTW) are most likely to be jiggled around or need to step back in order to ensure best make up of the panels.
- Meeting Monday at 2pm to finalise attendees.
- Reminder that first three Labs are not the only three.
- A dummy run will be done in the week prior to the first lab.
- A preliminary conversation with all panellists was suggested in order to ensure good and comfortable atmosphere in the Labs.
Recap action points and deadlines
- Guest speakers – Excluded UK + Holly Maples (Paule)
- Returning to work document
- READ FMTW Document FMTW Engagement & Core Values Document
- Sheila McKechnie training Tuesday 4pm – deadline Monday morning for anyone else to join
- Is it worth talking to Equity about Future labs – to get more performers in?
- ABTT SMA doc to be sent to ADs and Eds (with cover note)
- Lyndsey to share ACE application
- Al to do a Slack tutorial
- Friday meeting on 9th October to be in the afternoon / evening – into drinks?
- Collecting data from people returning to work
- Centralised Survey Data base? Is there any one place that all of the collected information could be made available.
- FMTW to have a subscription to The Stage
Next main meeting – Date: Time: 25th September 9.30am Chair: Sunita