By Emma Jane Park

I once made some branded tea bags for a networking event.

This wasn’t warm drink based entrepreneurialism in action but rather a puerile response to a friend who told me I was terrible at networking.

They laughed at me as I whined ‘I just want to drink tea with people and see if we click’ and then entered yet another room without strategy, presumption or a sales pitch.

After one too many impressions of my whiney West Coast tone, I defiantly ordered some tea bags with my phone number on and entered every other networking room that year with a clear strategy.  I wanted to meet people and ask them to have a cup of tea with me.

A whole decade of relationships stemmed from those cups of tea.
The trust I have in the industry pretty much stemmed from those cups of tea.

Those cups of tea play quite a large role in the story of how I didn’t just jack it all in years ago.

Tea Bag

Why should anyone care about this?
Firstly, it is okay if you don’t.  

We’re in a global pandemic – if waffling about tea doesn’t strike a chord don’t worry about it.  It’s not that deep.

BUT, if it does strike a chord…
If you are one of those folks that likes to connect without an agenda and who is in this industry because of the opportunity to drink tea with people, I may know of something you might enjoy.


What on earth has this got to do with FMTW?

FMTW are inviting you to drink tea … or coffee, diluting juice, ginger or Bovril… in a room purposefully designed without strategy, presumption or a sales pitch.

Every Thursday at 11.00am for 30 minutes, Freelancers Make Theatre Work have opened a virtual green room.  You arrive, you chat with a few folk, you leave. Simple.


But really, why should anyone take half an hour to chat with folks they don’t know?
It seems super simple, so simple it can be deprioritised: emails must be sent; cleaning must be done; worrying about the future must take precedence.  


This reminds me of the stress of tech week, when there is more to do than there is time for. When, for someone like me, it’s the happenchance of a green room cuppa that keeps me sane.  I might end up in a conversation about Bake Off or politics or learning that someone I know as a Director is also an excellent ceramist.*


Whatever the conversation it is a vital opportunity to reset, get out of my bubble and then crack on with refreshed enthusiasm.

I know it’s bold of me to claim that drinking tea with folks could be a transformational experience – I mean, it might be –  but it could also just be an opportunity to stay connected to some folks who know how it feels to be sitting with the uncertainty of the industry right now.


Why not give it a try?

What do other people say about it?**

Best tea break all week! ✭✭✭✭✭
It was brill…simple, heartfelt, direct.  Love it! ✭✭✭✭✭
That half an hour really set me up for the day. ✭✭✭✭
Last night a tea break saved my life!! ✭✭✭✭

*These things have actually happened on Zoom.

**Star ratings added at editor’s discretion.

Teas and cakes on a blue background

Find out more about FMTW Tea Breaks