FMTW Meeting Minutes 20th May 2022

Chair: Josie Underwood

Minutes: Josie Underwood

Present: Freddie Crossley, Alistair Cope, Paul Carey Jones, Bill Bankes-Jones, Paule Constable, Peter McKintosh, Jake Orr, Josie Underwood, Nikki Edmonds

Apologies: Vicki Mortimer, Kelsie Acton

Updates and reports

ABTT Theatre Show

If anyone has recommendations of people/groups to reach out to who can come and join, or offer flyers/info etc.

Our stand is opposite the APTLE lounge – to offer places to chill!

BBJ – remote involvement, present without coming to london? Potentially a video stream? High prices to travel to london are so high. Network is powerful because it’s, but no official flyers etc?

NE – Mig and Elysia – all talks etc are all being recorded and streamed out. Panel for BECTU? APTLE is very low engagement at the moment, so . Rubbish internet / live stream sounds hard.

JO: Why is FMTW there?

PC: Multifaceted, ABTT are trying to put morefocus on freelancers for the entire event so they have offered us a free space and they want to encourage the idea of freelancers having a network. The photobooth highlights the theme of connectivity and network. Backstage people are very reticent to step forward into these spaces, but this is a way to . Freelancer straganonfgos

AC: Practical note – 4 weeks until the show, 3 weeks lead time one pencils! 

Vote for badges and pencils to be made – 1000 pencils £291.50, 500 badges £150.

JO: Where are they going to be stored?

AC: AC will be there for the whole weekend. Can take home and store if needed.

JU: So can I.

NE: Citea have some storage space that could also be used!


JO: It is happening, it’s happening soon. EJ Freddie and Jake are all Tuesday 31st – panel discussion webinar around freelance activism. Next session is in June – looking at NPO’s and developing a framework for outsourcing freelance problems. Also a ‘build your own’ programme. It’s a lot of work!!! Various comms that will start need to go out. It is an epic thing that is being done, and everyone that is  involved in the operation is freelance – which is amazing and needs to be flagged. We may need to make specific asks of specific people, so if anyone is able to jump on these asks please help. There may be some more generic asks that go out.

AC: Comms have started going out (i.e. you can register for stuff) but it feels like the ‘everyone is a freelancer’ point could be a newsletter. We haven’t said anything about the Symposium, so this might be a good opportunity to put this out.

JO: Shall I get something from the People Make It Work folk for a description?

AC: Our newsletter should come from us and our perspective.

JO/FC: Jake will have a first stab at putting together a newsletter.

JU: Happy to cast an eye over it.

PC: In terms of a newsletter would it be useful to do a recorded conversation? PC is arms length so might be in a good position to do this.

JO: Yes!

PC: Freelance Activism group? Trevor McFarland created a doc that says that conversion

JO: Trying to include 

PC: What are the dates?

JO: 25th May – July, there are different sections of the symposium. Our work is on 31st May (webinar on activism) 10th June (NPO workshops) 15 July (build your own programme)

PC: Use part of the money they have already delivered to pay for some of the NPO engagement? Rather than asking them to give us more money.

JO: The thinking is that this isnt asking for money for us, we are asking them to pay for freelancers.

PC: Longer conversation – lets side bar.

FC: PC, feels like the important thing is the way we frame the ask. Trevor McFarland, might be involved in other events? Mighty Networks, which is a social media platform ‘facebook for freelancers in the arts’ – legacy of the symposium. Feels like early stages, and if we can get the ball rolling this could be a great.

Per Diems?

NE: Hive mind – work is being set up but no expenses are being honoured (even when invoiced). Perhaps there is wording in gov legislation that if you are working away from home you get reimbursed. There is no weight behind this. BECTU has said that has freelancers aren’t employed. UK Theatre agreement is in disrepute so thing is complicated. There seems to be no wording that anyone can take to producers. Building a resource to help with this, can’t help for about a week.

PC: Different policies for every producer. It’s the wildwest for freelancers out there!

PM: Its always been awful, but the cost of living going up is now making it even harder. ‘You don’t live in london, we wont pay your travel’ is common. People are earning significantly less.

BBJ: Outside london they are much better, it is a london problem 

AC: What are the next steps?

NE: Building a resource. Letter template, before people sign a contract. This could be really powerful. What is the actual law about this? Balancing with different set ups, would the MU put up with this? There is an imbalance.

JU: We have direct contacts with some of the venues discussed via their financial support and the agreement we made with them to have a direct contact in the organisations. We should use this contact point to raise these issues in the buildings.

PC: Good idea to use our direct links in. Health and safety and welfare at work. Safe journeys home, particularly effects costume workers because of late nights. Will send over some documents.

PCJ: Companies have to see this as being vital to their existence. If this is loosing their freelancers then something must be done. 10% inflation will have a massive knock on effect. They can’t survive without them.

AC: This conversation is something that we are very privileged to be able to have this conversation, how do we get this conversations into more ears? Podcasts have many issues etc, but the conversations we have are so rich and full of nuance, and there is so much to be actioned, but a lot that we have already talked about. Sometimes having the conversation is part of the solution. How do we share this conversation in a way that protects us?

PC: Really good provocation, first hand model. Newsletter – yes! But is about capacity. Is it tweeting – 3 sentences of the conversation about what we are talking about? Reframe it as an industry problem.

AC: Always flag the minutes / tweeted. Lacks nuance.

Action points:

  • Gather around per diems/expenses for freelancers letter writing/resource making activity

What’s next – action plan!

Finished working through the FMTW Questions Document. We talked through the last two points on the document, and then discussed the need for a larger room to make an action plan. We will find a date in the next two weeks to do this (starting with the next two fridays, and moving on to other dates if these don’t work) where we gather around a consolidated list of the FMTW actions and make a plan. JU will share the consolidated list and notes.


Action points:

  • Find a date in the next two weeks (starting with the friday meetings) for at least 10 people to commit to 1-2 hours of action planning – JU
  • Send out consolidated list of bullet point aims (made from the document we have been working on for the past three weeks – JU



PM: It’s our 2 year birthday!!! Our first meeting was on 29th May 2020 (confirmed by Al!) Would we like to do something for it? Let’s mull it over!



  • Gather around per diems/expenses for freelancers letter writing/resource making activity
  • Find a date in the next two weeks (starting with the friday meetings) for at least 10 people to commit to 1-2 hours of action planning – JU
  • Send out consolidated list of bullet point aims (made from the document we have been working on for the past three weeks – JU
  • Think about what we might do for FMTW’s 2nd birthday!