FREELANCERS MAKE THEATRE WORK
WEEKLY MEETING MINUTES
09:30-11:30, FRIDAY 24 October
Present: Esi Acquaah-Harrison, Kelsie Acton, Rachel Bagshaw, Bill Bankes-Jones, Sally Beck Wippman, Emma Cameron, Paule Constable, Alistair Cope, Freddie Crossley, Cynthia Duberry, Anna Fleischle, Hazel Holder, Jack Hudson, Emma Jayne-Park, Susan Kempster, Peter McKintosh, Vicki Mortimer, Arran Pallan, Tom Piper, Beth Steel, Athena Stevens, Leo Wan.
Updates from working groups
Website and Social Media
- Mike Bell is creating theatre-based art piece and donating part of profits to FMTW
- Merchandise deliveries delayed by a week or so
- No email updates
- Almost ready to launch episode one
- Teasers created for whole podcast and first episode
- Has been live for about 8 weeks and had about 50 responses
- We’re hoping for ~75 so please share through personal relations with organisations
- In particular the big NPOs
- Will continue through November
- Looking at ways to make it more interactive
- Can give a tutorial who anyone who would like to host
- Two more days happening in early November
- Had a meeting to look at other venues around the country
- Assembled a package to send to possible venues, including cost of facilitators
- Doesn’t have to be an outdoor venue but must have space for distancing
- Looking at options for unconscious bias training
- Amanda Parker attending next week as a guest speaker
- We are chairing and need someone to minute
- Next week’s newsletter will focus on the content from the first Future Labs panels
Equity have pushed out an MPs letter about the minimum income floor, which essentially assumes applicants are earning at least national minimum wage. This has been suspended since March but the Government are planning to re-introduce it. We have been highlighting Equity’s response but have not put out a statement ourselves yet. We will start by focussing on it in a blog post.
Guest Speaker: Paul Fleming and James Briers, Equity
Paul and James were invited to speak to us about Equity’s current work for freelancers and how the two groups might collaborate with each other on activity. The conversation began with an assertion that Equity cannot exist separately from its members – it is its members, who are almost exclusively freelancers. Equity’s role is representing the collective workforce as a trade union in relation to capital and industrial relations, as well as other broader labour issues. It’s remit does not include passing judgement on artistic decisions and debates. As a trade union, it is very successful in negotiating terms and conditions, but recognises that none of the agreements are perfect and therefore continues to work on them.
The discussion covered
- Equity’s online resources, which are incredibly useful but behind a paywall, which is a double-edged sword in terms of membership.
- the Minimum income floor for universal credit, which Equity are campaigning on alongside other trade unions in the arts and other sectors.
- short, mid and long-term lobbying terms, including democratising decision-making regionally, challenging funding models and joining the dots with other industrial issues.
- In terms of carrying on a relationship, they are very happy to be emailed about us, join meetings and collaborate on campaigns. Equity are particularly keen to highlight and maintain an awareness of the value of trade unions beyond the current crisis.
Freelancer wellbeing and career development sessions
We are in discussions with a theatre in London to offer a series of in-person workshops led by industry professionals in different disciplines. Due to space restrictions would likely be in a discussion structure, rather than practical sessions. We would likely randomise selection of participants, similar to the system for the Spa Days, with possible ringfencing of some spaces. The project is largely dependent on funding coming from the organisation. We will set up a working group to continue discussing.
Individual freelancer support fund
We are exploring a proposal for a sponsored fund for individual freelancers with a partner organisation. This is very much at the ideas stage and would require a lot of discussion about parameters for eligibility and the requirements of an application process. We will start by explore appetite from suggested partners in principle.
Migrants in Theatre
We will be discussing Migrants in Theatre’s work next week, including a debrief on their first townhall and their response to FestivalUK 2022.
Recap action points
- share Survey with personal contacts with organisations
- Somebody to minute next week’s AAPTLE meeting (12pm, Tuesday)
- Write and host blog piece about universal credit’s minimum income floor
- Draft and send newsletter sharing Future Labs content
- Form working group for wellbeing and career development sessions
- Explore options for support fund idea
- Somebody to minute next week’s catch up (9.30am, Friday)
Date and time of next meetings
- General catch up – Friday 30 October, 4pm (chair: Sally Beck Wippman)