Chair: Josie Underwood

Minutes: Josie Underwood

Present: Paule Constable, Alistair Cope, Bill Bankes-Jones, Peter McKintosh, Mimi Doulton, Paul Carey Jones, Nikki Edmonds

Apologies: Jake Orr, Freddie Crossley, Vicki Mortimer

Updates and reports

Big Freelancer Survey

As of this morning 437 respondents. Shared with AD’s, ED’s, Organisations, Companies and Individuals. We also discussed sharing with Agents, and JU will reach out to these with sharing info. JU will also share sharing into with FMTW volunteers again so we can all share widely.

Link to the survey here: https://linktr.ee/BigFreelancerSurvey

Link to a tweet that you can retweet: https://twitter.com/FreelancersMake/status/1630878042326171649

Larger Regional Producing Theatres Project (formerly Big 12)

Individual responses to our project proposal from Theatre Royal Plymouth (interested) and Leicester Curve (will let us know if they can meaningfully commit).  

The wider group, via Kate Denby of Northern Stage, have sent the following response to our proposal, and we are meeting with her at 3pm today:

Thanks again for sharing your proposal for a project working with the Larger Regional Producing theatres.  For information, we have recently refreshed our name and composition ahead of the new NPO cycle.  We are now the Larger Regional Producing Theatres, and we’ve been joined by Coventry Belgrade, New Vic Stoke and Wiltshire Creative.

At our meeting last week we discussed your proposal to develop a freelancers policy in collaboration with venues.  A number of thoughts and reflections came out of our discussion:

  • Colleagues could see value in drawing together policies and procedures that relate to freelancers into one document, for transparency and understanding about expectations on both sides (e.g. codes of conduct)
  • Some good examples exist of similar approaches that have recently been developed and implemented in the sector (e.g. ARC Stockton’s Freelancer Policy  and March for the Arts’ Working Guidance for Arts Freelancers & Organisations); some organisations are already developing their own policies using this guidance, and we would want to acknowledge and build on what already exists.
  • There are legal implications that organisations need to consider in relation to employment rights, HMRC etc., to ensure they are working both ethically and legally; boards would want to see that there has been some robust oversight policy implications.
  • Where best practice has become established as standard practice in the sector, it’s often the result of developing guidance or frameworks that allow for organisations to develop a bespoke response; UK Theatre & ITC can be crucial partners in this to ensure a wide reach across the sector.

We therefore wanted to suggest that we extend the conversation to include UK Theatre, with a view to developing a guidance framework that could be rolled out across the sector or established as a set of best practice principles.  Similar approaches have had positive impact in recent years, e.g. UK Theatre Safer Working Practices (2018), Anti-Racism Touring Rider (2021); it could also build on the excellent work that has already been undertaken by freelance groups like March for the Arts.

I know that Birmingham Rep would be keen to take the project forward; they may have already been in touch with you.  You may have also had other organisations feedback directly.”

Will update the group after our conversation with Kate. We currently have the 24th March pencilled as an in-person meeting for us to work through the plans for the project.

FMTW Open House – Improbable Open Space
Having chatted numerous times about ‘townhalls,’ ‘listening spaces’ and ‘open spaces’ we approached Imrpobable to chat to them about partnering on their Open Spaces. I chatted to Varshini who said that we could either hire them to run a space, or we could work together to deliver a Devoted and Disgruntled Satellite space, where we provide the space and they facilitate. As we currently don’t know exactly what this might look like/how this might work, we have suggested a test run with Varshini, who will let us know soon if we can develop a D&D Satellite with them in the near future to see if it works for us as a listening/sharing space with freelancers. More notes from our meeting on 16th Feb can be found here.

Lobbying Group – Trade & Business Trade Commision
We are still seeking info from those that work in Europe about the impact of Brexit to submit to the Trade Commission.

Meeting Monday 13th 5.30pm to discuss.

There is a document here where we can start to construct our submission to the Trade Commision.

NE: It might be worth talking to these people about working abroad: Arts Info Point – working in europe, formed for brexit.

They do coffee mornings that we can attend, the next one is here

AOB 

  • AC: Prompted by the UK Trade and Business point – we should review our ‘Working in Europe’ page. Perhaps change to ‘Working Abroad’?
  • AC: The ABTT Theatre show is coming up 7-8th June and we are returning to our stall so will be meeting to discuss plans soon! UPDATE: We are looking to have a section in our space to host freelance organisation flyers, e.g. march for the arts, backstage niche etc, so if you can think of any orgs it would be good to contact and offer this to let me know!

ACTION POINTS

  • Share BFS far and wide! – JU/AC/Everyone
  • Create poll for next months meeting – JU
  • Fill in Evidence submission doc ahead of  Monday meeting – Lobsters
  • (Future) Review ‘Working in Europe’ page – AC & team
  • Report back on meeting with Kate Denby – JU/AC/JO

Upcoming Meetings

Monday 13th 5.30pm – Lobbying group (trade commission meeting)

Thursday 16th time tbc – Meeting with Lizzie Crump