FREELANCERS MAKE THEATRE WORK MEETING: FRIDAY 28st MAY
Chair: Ben Arkell
Minutes: Josie Underwood
Present: Paule Constable, Ben Arkell, Mimi Doulton, Vicki Mortimer, Alistair Cope, Beth Steel, Ella Taylor, Kelsie Acton, Jake Orr, Andy Whyment, Peter McKintosh, Steven Hoggett, Shankho Chaudhuri, Jess Murrain, Emma Jayne Park, Susan Kempster, Athena Stevens, Leigh Toney, Rachel Bagshaw, Josie Underwood, Matt Humphrey
Apologies: Prema Mehta, John McCann, Paul Carey Jones
Leaving early: Beth Steel, Susan Kempster
Updates and reports
- Bat Signal
JU sent a poll asking about communication methods to see what the best methods are. A very contested point is the BAT SIGNAL getting too busy so has been muted by many, so important messages get missed.
ACTION POINT: Create a new WhatsApp channel for socials. AL (DONE)
- Dramaturgs Network Panel
Call out for a panelist from FMTW
ACTION POINT: JU to highlight Dramaturgs Network Panel on slack
- Half term week
Quiet week next week as it is half term!
- Anniversary Newsletter
Al put together a gentle and simple email that listed all the generosity from FMTW volunteers over the past year. The responses so far have been a combination of personal and political, so maybe a call out for a personal or political impact that FMTW has had in the past year.
- Where the personal meets the political – A year of FMTW Newsletter – call for responses – JU rephrase the form and send out to all again
- Leigh to assemble the newsletter to go out next week
- JU to grant Leigh access to the form
Conversation with SOLT and UK Theatre – a convened series of groups to do some work about how we might make some change in the industry (using the Big Freelancer Report, and Future Labs model). ACE, SOLT and UK Theatre are going to admin and facilitate. Terms of reference document that exist can be shared – we are now able to talk about how this might work and structure of the convention. ACE are talking to devolved ACE bodies to make sure that this is a
Short to mid term strategy that will engage with existing structures, hoping for future long term strategy.
EJ – Theatre scotland is involved, but should this be further spread than national funding bodies?
PC – We want to engage with individuals in all nations, and we don’t want funding to restrict that. We want to make sure the conversation is as wide as possible, and this is within our role to make sure this happens. Next stage is a steering group, and then each group to be run by a freelancer and someone from an organisation (ideally these groups will be in place within the next 3-4 weeks)
VM – Arts Council are funding paying the freelancers. And they have offered to find an AC employee to listen in each working strand.
JM – What does the ‘terms of reference’ mean? (PC – framework for how the project might work, eg shared values, defines terms, structures that have been proposed etc) Interested in how we can make the mechanism for participation and feedback open widely to freelancer community. (PC – There is a proposal for engagement, but this is not set in stone! Eg open calls for feedback and responses, town halls etc but also focusing on what is next as opposed to
EJ – What is the curation process for the working groups? We should be mindful of fast turn around so that as the conversation grows is starts from the right point.
PC – This will be built around action rather than a talking process.
VM – the make up of what becomes the working groups will be an open call out.
AW – After Future Labs there was a worry that there were a lot of moving parts and the buck didnt stop in any particular place, so along with collaboration there needs to be a focus on action, and there perhaps needs to be a coordinator.
PC – this feels like an opportunity for FMTW to put a lot of what we talk about on a larger scale
ACTION POINT: Terms of reference document to be shared with the group PC and welcome responses (DONE)
- Credit letters
Last year we sent a letter to Festival.org for credits to be added to their website. Touring season is starting again, and there are no credits to anyone in the show at all. Suggestion that there is a standard letter that we can send out to orgs, buildings etc that asks them to make sure that credit is being given to the WHOLE team.
AS – Full on letter from FMTW to send out as these situations keep coming up. Thought must be taken on the things that will be customisable
ACTION POINT: Susan to share a version of original “giving credit” email with the group
- EUA Proposal
A proposal for the process working group of how we deal with these proposals.
EJ – a group who are on the surface lobbying for those that have been excluded from support. We don’t actually need the platform to contact MPs. The tone of this proposal throws up a few red flags, ie there is a lack of online presence so we can’t access any more information about the organisers.
JM – Lack of clarity around who they are advocating for. There is also use of MLK quotes, although there is no mention of people of colour on their website. Don’t want to be a gatekeeping because we don’t know them, but why can’t we find out more about them?
AC – There are contact details for them, so potentially we hop on a zoom call to find out a bit more about them.
SH – What is the structure that guarantees an interfaces between MPs and groups like this?
EJ – Area of concern, the proposal didn’t seem to show an understanding of the processes involved in making this event happen. Also sounds like they want us to facilitate protests, which is a massive undertaking.
PC – do we want to engage with this, due to capacity?
EJ – We should have a conversation as we shouldn’t be gatekeepers.
JU – Happy to facilitate
ACTION POINT: Set up a zoom call with EUA ??
- Trans Casting Statement
There has been a proposal for commitment to
EJ – there has been backlash on social media, should we give Al the verbal permission to respond to this so he is not overwhelmed?
ET/JS – Don’t think we should engage with these conversations as it enables this conversation to happen and boosts it.
AC – Unless something explicitly needed addressing he will not feed the trolls.
ACTION POINT: Keslie to sign trans casting statement on behalf of FMTW DONE
- Process and Strategy Working Groups
JU has set up the two groups. Could
EJ – Should we pre prepare for the meeting?
- Poll to go out on each group for a prep meeting next week JU
- Poll to go out to check that response from Leigh’s survey are happy to be shared (if we get one response saying no then we dont share)
- AAPTLE Wellbeing and Mental Health Survey
160 people reached with this survey. One already done in 2018, mental health within the theatre industry, they want to compare the most recent info. Hard data: 48% of the responses have claimed an
The more info they get the better!
ACTION POINT: Invite for all to do the survey
- The Stage film
Going really well, filmed at the NT on Monday, written by Athena. Still need more voxpops!
ACTION POINT: Email JU if you can give 5 mins for an interview with Athena
- Amateur Choirs
The guidance on how amateur choirs are allowed to convened has been difficult, this has meant that they cannot meet in groups of more than six and this is effecting freelancers also.
ET – Classist/toxic conversation around this issue (comparison to football crowds)
AS – This was done by the government by stealth.
AC – We have not yet made comment from FMTW. We have a space on the website for a blog to write about things like this, if anyone has capacity and would also like to, we could put something out on our platform.
RB – No testing in place outside of professional environments.
PC – Could this be a community letter to MPs? This not only effects freelancers but also communities.
ET – Lateral flow tests would be very possible for amateur groups to take.
ACTION POINT: Draft an MP letter and a blog ??
PC – Paul Carey Jones and PC have a meeting with Hilary Benn about the post-brexit WYP commission, put the case forward for the arts sector.
Should we set up another meeting with Kate about the treasury.
JO – No response from Complicite yet, a response will be shared when it comes in.
Fundraising – donate button is doing it’s job! £105 donated so far! Meetings are going into the diary. Vikki Hayward.
JU – March for the Arts meeting at 2pm on 9th July.
Matt Humpreys – Innovate UK fund, just been launched in collab with DCMS, Creative Industries fund. https://apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk/competition/919/overview#eligibility
ACTION POINT: AC to chase for Future Labs 3rd report
OUTSTANDING ACTION POINTS RECAP
- JU to highlight Dramaturgs Network Panel on slack
- Where the personal meets the political – A year of FMTW Newsletter – call for responses (JU rephrase the form and send out to all again)
- LT to assemble the newsletter to go out next week
- JU to grant LT access to the form for newsletter
- SK to share a version of original “giving credit” email with the group
- Set up a zoom call with EUA ??
- Poll to go out on each working group for a prep meeting next week JU
- Poll to go out to check that response from LT’s survey are happy to be shared (if we get one response saying no then we dont share)
- Email JU if you can give 5 mins for an interview with Athena for The Stage film
- Draft an MP letter and a blog about amateur choir issue ??
- AC to chase for Future Labs 3rd report
Upcoming Friday Meetings:
4th June Chair – Ben Arkell Minutes – TBC
11th June Chair – Peter McK Minutes – Josie Underwood
18th June Chair – Peter McK Minutes – Josie Underwood