Notes from Meeting with 46 freelancers* & 6 Companies** on Thursday 10 September 2020
Context – This event came out of a conversation with freelancers who felt isolated and frustrated at not knowing what organisations were thinking or having to consider (and how that would impact them in their careers). One freelancer described the situation as being on a “long haul flight without knowing where you are going or how long you’ll be up in the sky”.
This event was the sixth of six meetings with over 158 freelancers and 36 organisations (25 venues, 5 Festivals & 6 Companies) held between 18 June & 10 September 2020.
This meeting took place six months after theatres across Scotland closed their doors, cancelled contracts, performances, productions, and festivals. The freelance workforce that theatre in Scotland (and everywhere) relies upon is very much at risk. The sector has already lost many key, skilled, experienced individuals and more leave every day.
* Freelancers were BSL interpreters, Choreographers, Circus Artists, Company Managers, Composers, Dance Artists, Directors, Dramaturgs, Facilitators, Lighting Designers, Live Artists, Musicians, Performers, Photographers, Playwrights, PRs, Producers, Production Managers, PRs, Set & Costume Designers, Sound Designers, Stage Managers, Storytellers, Technicians, Translators & Theatre makers.
These notes have been anonymised – removing all names – unless the speaker has given permission to do otherwise. We wanted to create a space where everyone could speak honestly about their situation in order to develop our shared understanding of what is happening to our sector.
Questions issued in advance to the venue representatives (submitted by attendees).
- What are your plans to collaborate with and contribute to the freelance workforce in Scotland (artists, producers, technicians, designers, etc)?
- The economic crisis has exposed massive inequalities within the theatre industry. What are your plans for involving artists in a more regular, central, and sustainable way than you did before the pandemic?
- If you were told that no live performances could happen until the end of 2021, what might next year’s festival look like?
- In light of recent BLM global movement, what are you doing now and planning to be anti-racist and combat anti-blackness?
- Given the mix of skills in the room, how might we help you?
NOTES FROM THE MEETING
Impact of the Pandemic
- We went into lockdown the same way everyone did – not having a clue what to do and not knowing what was coming next or how we could respond to that and I think we still haven’t got a clue what we are doing. We’re still making it up as we go along. Just to acknowledge that we’re trying our best to make it work and to do what we can.
- In everything we’ve done since Covid- we’ve been asking the question, “How can we be useful?”
- When lockdown happened, we had 3 priorities:
- How do we ensure that our audiences can continue to be supported?
- How do we support the artists & freelancers that we engage?
- How do we support the staff team?
- Our immediate response: We paid everyone under contract. We initiated a bursary programme that supported 25 freelancers with some money in response to what they told us they needed at the time. We offered 5 bigger opportunities that supported artists to develop some ideas that we shared with audiences. We ran fortnightly Zoom gatherings that ran from April-July to provide a space for freelancers to check-in and to discuss things that they were interested in and to inform their practice.
- We spent quite a lot of time un-producing shows that were mean to tour this year. So, we’ve had to unpick that and try push those opportunities into next year. Who knows if they’ll come off – we don’t know but we’re working on the basis that we have to remain positive and hopeful. That’s part of what we want to share with the sector.
- Last year, our financial model would have been seen as really risky because our core grant amounts to between 70-75% of our turnover. Then in mid-March that felt like a really safe model. We’ve not had the same financial cliff edge that many of the venues and larger scale organisations have had.
- We realised we had a particular responsibility to carry on making work because we didn’t have a building.
- If there is no live work allowed next year, we’ll keep making work no matter what. We’ve been able to employ 381 artists and freelancers since this started. We’ll keep going come what may.
- Our programme hasn’t fundamentally changed, and I’m not sure it necessarily will in the future because of that focus on craft that we have which can still be developed during lockdown.
- Being flexible has had a bit of a downside. Last year we employed an additional 152 freelance artists (mostly actors & directors) but by not having lots of workshops that’s had a knock-on effect. We’re contacting everyone we’re currently working with the aim of getting that activated.
- We’ve remained working throughout this period. We’ve been sailing along on the raft of uncertainty.
- We have 5 areas of work: productions, artist development opportunities, our provocations, our creative learning and our organisational development. All of those strands of work have continued throughout this period.
- We have been re-configuring our budgets and utilising reserves to provide more support for independent dance artists, including through For Now emergency budgets and more recently a programme of Artist Research Bursaries.
Planning, Producing, Pivoting…
- The only way our programme can work over the next year is to be digital. That’s all we can hope to achieve.
- Scenario planning felt like management speak a few weeks ago and now it’s just become a part of our everyday life. We’re planning scenarios where we have to make work socially distanced, when we don’t have to do that, where we can get into the big venues and where we would make work outdoors.
- We’re considering how we bring new voices into the company alongside honouring the work we had to cancel this year.
- We’re planning a big Christmas offer but we’re also discussing how we may have to pivot that to a digital offer so that we can carry on working with those artists and provide those employment opportunities.
- We can look at outdoor work but that brings other challenges like access, around transport for people getting there and whether they feel that they can get transport.
- We’ve been thinking about how we carry on developing work. We had a moment during lockdown where one of our associate directors managed to bring together a first act of a new musical which we watched together on Zoom, and it was a really intensely emotional moment where suddenly we saw that work might be able to be ready for next year.
- We’ve adapted one of our programmes to go online but artists are still a key part of that work. We’re just doing it in different ways and exploring face to face engagements now.
Returning to Live Performance
- I think it’s quite likely that live performance won’t happen again until the end of 2021. For us, 2021-22 will be the first that we imagine that we’re back in a theatre and we’re working out what it is we do between now and then.
- We’re a bit more optimistic about when we can make live work but the picture changes all the time.
- I’ve been having conversations with Artistic Directors about how they plan on working with playwrights in future. They’ve been some really interesting conversations and really positive things have come from that.
- If we can’t get back into theatres, we’re hoping that we’ll be able to start sharing those works from spring but if not, we will continue with our engagement programmes. We will continue to initiate new opportunities to engage with our audiences and deliver our skills, work and artist development programmes. There will still be lots of opportunities for people to engage with us and for us to engage with them.
- In terms of 2021 and what’s going to happen next… we’re doing a lot of work on filming some of our work, if we can’t produce work (and I think we will) then we will continue to offer a lot of development. We will re-channel our energies into making sure freelance opportunities remain, whether that’s digital or actual productions, or being able to offer seed funds so that ideas can start to flourish, so that when we’re ready to go back and have an audience we’ll have all these projects ready to get ready and raring to go. Then a few artists will be able to climb out of the eternal pit of development.
- We’re now tentatively looking at returning to the studio. We hope to be back from October with a mix of rescheduled work from our previous programme and future work.
- Not everyone is in that place where they can go back into a studio, because of shielding or family commitments or other structural or personal issues.
- We don’t exist without freelancers because we work on a project by project basis and because every year is different. We don’t exist without the rest of the sector and freelancers.
- We continue to reassess how we can make sure as much of our resource as possible (financial, space, time, expertise) gets to artists and to put work on stages.
- We’re going to do an audit of our Artist Development programme to make sure it’s fit for purpose – in the light of Covid and all the financial insecurities and inequalities that that has brought to light more than ever and also in line with the Black Lives Matters movement and the anti-racism work we’re doing. We want to be able to continue to identify and diversify the talent pool in Scotland.
- We want to really ask ourselves big, difficult, philosophical questions about how that can be more sustainable and make sure that artists can be better resourced and have longer term relationships with us.
- Is it about the number of people we get to support or is it about the quality and length, experience, the amount of money people get to play with? And the opportunity to actually present work.
- We’ve been supporting the Freelance Taskforce who have been doing great work and asking big, difficult questions and we’re looking forward to finding out the results of their work which will go on to inform not only, not only our Artist Development programme but also everything we do, and which I imagine will also lead to further consultations like this one.
- Desperate to hear from you what you think it Is that we should be doing, because we have too many priorities in a way and it’s really good to nail down what it is that we can most fundamentally do to help people. We can’t do everything.
- We hosted a large sector meeting about how artists adapt their work, how craft might need to change and how they might approach organisations with new ideas and solutions rather than waiting for some kind of normality to return if its ever going to.
- The role of the artist and the freelance practitioner is absolutely essential in our work, so how do we provide opportunities to support people to develop a practice that informs the work that we need to do in the future?
- Very early on we identified a pot of money that we were going to commit to responding to Covid. We’ve been using to try and distribute opportunities for freelancers. Targeting artists who were particularly vulnerable- we had a call out for emerging artists. We’ve been talking about how else we target people who may be slipping through the cracks. We’ve offered some artists’ development – three specific artists have been given 1-to-1 coaching with dramaturgs or directors. We’ve been trying to create as many employment opportunities as possible. We’ve been offering artist support surgeries- those are ongoing, but we haven’t shouted about them recently because we were aware that it was taking a little time to get back to people.
- We were able to honour some payments attached to our cancelled residency programme and look at creating some immediate financial needs of our membership.
- We were able to repurpose budget from an international project to create a programme of artists research residencies and research bursaries. So, people can work flexibly, research new ideas, & to reflect on practice.
- We’ve been working with 2 of the freelance taskforce members.
- I’ve been convening a regular conversation with other funded organisations in our sector and bring them together once a month. Some of the taskforce came along and shared some of their findings and the collective feedback. Honest feedback is easier collectively than individually.
- We facilitated a forum which looked at ‘where do we go?’ and also, ‘how do we use this moment in time?’ and there was this articulated, urgent need not just to get back to performance or not to get back to things but to shift and address some of the inequalities and address some of what is holding our art forms back because of that. That feels really urgent and resonating.
Collaborating with Freelancers
- For the foreseeable future our work is going to have to be digital -we work with a lot of disabled artists and we hope to welcome disabled audiences but the time scale for when they can get back in a room together feels very far away. So, we have to move our work online – freelancers are key to that delivery
- There’s a big fear amongst disabled actors that they won’t be asked back into the rehearsal room for quite a while.
- The economic crisis has exposed inequalities and really made us think how we speak to people like yourselves in the wider sector and a lot of that is around having conversations like this one.
- We’re supporting one of the Freelance Taskforce members to give us some insight into how disabled freelancers in Scotland are feeling and what they want from us at the moment.
- We’re really aware that some freelancers went to work right away whereas others have said, “How can we possibly work right now? How can we imagine creating work in this climate?” We’re trying to both of those groups and everyone else in between.
- We’ve just recruited three freelancers to become three new associate artists. It’s exciting to bring in new voices and new perspectives to help us steer the direction of the company and what our priorities should be.
- We’ve had to be very attuned to how people have felt – some have been tremendously creative; others understandably haven’t been able to complete or start their work. We’re always flexible but having to be double so.
- We want our artist development programme to be like that port in the storm, so that each year at a certain time our programme opens and is consistent.
- We’ve been aware of the inequalities in the sector for some time. We wouldn’t be here without freelancers.
- We have 4 Associates and a Freelance mentor – they are part-time role but they’re really important to us and split their time between delivering our creative programme, and also providing strategic advice to me and to the board, the organisation in general.
- Freelancers feed into our programme all the time, as well as the associates and freelancers on the board.
- I’ve been keeping a close eye on these meetings. I’ve been talking to members of the Freelance Taskforce. Any ideas coming from that are going to be really important to us.
- I hope we undertake good practice. Sometimes you get so close to it and worry if you’re becoming part of the problem rather than a solution.
- Long term investment in freelancers is really needed.
- Our artists and freelancers are a key component of the company in the work we do. We can’t do our work without them.
- We’ve continued to deliver our community engagement programme which pays 2 artists and a freelance coordinator. That project is funded until end of 2020 and fundraising is ongoing.
- We’re continuing to develop activity on new productions. There are 3 key productions in development right now.
- We’re also developing a number of other, smaller projects that will provide opportunities for artists in a regular, sustainable way.
- Working with freelancers is what we’re all about.
- We’re really just trying to offer as many kinds of opportunities for people to continue to work from home or with their peers – however they want to work.
- We’re supporting the Freelance Taskforce. We really want to get some feedback about how we need to move forward, about what choices we need to make, and really informing our actions going forward.
- We would love to embed more artists within the organisation.
- One of the things that has been really clear to me about being freelance at this time is the protection that one is offered when under salary in terms of employment law, really supports one’s position. That’s one of the things that we don’t offer artists enough.
- I’ve been in a few conversations around ensemble models and what that means in terms of job security. We’re nowhere near being able to come up with something yet, and we simply don’t have the funds to do it in the way we would like. I want to keep talking about that and keep stirring that up because I think it’s one of the things that’s become really apparent to me is about offering choice to freelancers.
- We’re artist led. Artists are involved in the decision making in always what we’ve done. All our opportunities and selection processes are led by artists. We work with working groups of artists to inform how we do things. We don’t want to be complacent or thing that we’ve got that sorted. This time and the sharpness of focus that it has put on things – we need to go into that deeper and making sure our approaches and the way do things reflects our ethos and our mission.
- It made me think of the incredible skills that I know dance artists and choreographers have. I’d love to see more of a focus on process and slowing down, and research, and ways that those skills can be used in teaching and facilitating and bringing people and communities together. The role of dance in terms of contact and touch feels really critical as we look at the healing that will be needed, as we start to come through this and live in different ways. I’d love to think that there’s a way for dance artists to contribute to that through their practice.
Black Lives Matter – organisational responses
- We are working with a Freelance consultant at the moment.
- Some of our projects have a wider equalities focus but we are in no way complacent about that. We’ve worked with mainly non-black and non-racially diverse people. We’re working with a consultant on how we address that in an authentic way.
- We recognise that we have a whole lot of work to do on ourselves and a whole lot of learning to do. We’ve begun that work. We have a staff lead group that is looking both at self-education, and also actions that the company can take.
- We are working with D/ecology (Claricia Parinussa & Saaqib Afzal) on anti-racism & allyship training for our entire staff cohort, and our board are about to undergo unconscious bias training. We’ll announce our #TheatrePullUpOrShutUp stats today – That’s not good enough but you can expect constant updates from us in terms of what we’re doing next and we’re committed to action.
- Most of our last board meeting was about that – looking at our Equalities, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Plan which on paper, has all the protected characteristics of equal importance, which of course they are. However, we knew that we had prioritised some things over others, on race & ethnicity and disability.
- We’ve worked with, engaged, promoted most active playwrights of colour in Scotland, but we’ve got to do much, much more.
- We’re looking at board recruitment at the moment and diversifying that – the makeup of that board is going to be of massive importance.
- We have been passive in acknowledging that we are anti-racist, and we will say that but saying that isn’t enough.
- We’re in the process of setting up some anti-racism training for our staff, and really looking at how we engage with artists and freelances from black and minority ethnic communities to inform and run programmes because we want to be sharing our work with those communities.
- We have internal quotas to make sure our companies are diverse and truly intersectional. Our board are going to be going through some training.
- Three of our projects this year are specifically targeted at artists of colour. Our production next year will be directed by an extraordinary artist of colour. We’re really interested in embedding that in our work in the best possible way.
- This is not an item of news that is coming and going. We need to embed this in our work going forward. We’re on a journey. We’ve done a lot of work and we’ve not done enough.
- Our organisation is a membership model and is 180 independent artists.
- We have for 4 years have had an Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion Plan. Race and Ethnicity is part of that. So, we had some commitments and work were doing there before Covid. We’d already had some challenges within our membership around representation and doing more of that and had begun some work. Refocusing it, bringing it in to more prominence. Currently, as a board and staff team we’ve embarked on some anti-racism work being facilitated both by an artist of colour from within our membership and an external facilitator. We’re also looking at how we roll that out across our membership. Personally, I’ve been reflecting on it in terms of the artform as well and the genres of dance and aesthetics within that and what you inherently bring to that. I’m connecting with a small group of peers from organisations across the UK to really delve into that – to look at some of the inherent anti-blackness in contemporary dance.
What can freelancers do for companies?
- Tell us what you need to support you as Freelancers.
- We’re really open to any contact with anyone who wants to propose ideas or give suggestions. Please do get in touch and let us know how best we can support you.
- We want to hear from all of you.
- Flipping that around – how do we embed the thinking, the needs of and the dialogue with freelancers into our institutional structure.
- Our current programme call out is very much about collaboration – how do we work with others. If anyone wants to come and work with our membership, please let me know (immediately).
- Our door is always open. We respond to the needs and wants to the artists that we engage with and we probably have a limited pool and we’re always keen to broaden that pool. So, if people are interested, please get in touch.
- We don’t always get things right but we’re happy to have those difficult conversations with people, if people don’t think that we’re getting things right. We’re also open to initiating new opportunities with people because we’ve got something that we want to share and develop.
- Support is helpful. Talk to us. Help us make our case.
- Tell us what you need.
- We are a membership organisation. If you work in our sector, come join us. We suspended our membership fees for the current time.
Q & A
Q: I just wanted to ask about the commitment from organisations, not just to sort of increase work and development with artists of colour, more broadly in the UK but there are a number of established artists and newer artists based in Scotland. Can organisations assure that commitment will be given to the artists already working and based in Scotland as well as more broadly? And in deeper ways – we’ve been talking a lot about how people are constantly developed but never produced any work. And can we have an assurance that that kind of work will be done not just to develop but to take that work on to different stages and deeper ways?
Comment: The thing is, you’re all saying, Oh, we haven’t done enough work but we’re doing a lot of work, and nothing of nothing seems to move, you know and I know we were all in places where we don’t know what’s going to happen. So, we were still having to create work with that in mind, so can we be in on the conversation while we’re creating work and being developed? Can we be in the conversation where we say, it could be on stage, it could be outside, it could be an installation, can’t we be part of that and still be doing the work moving from development to producing? I don’t see why we’re saying, we can’t do anything because we’re still working under certain restrictions. We can still keep working, we can still do something that’s more visible, in changing the discussion, the debate. I think we’re limiting ourselves again and nothing will happen, and two years down the line certainly I’ll be away from the industry. And others might too because there’s no point in hanging on.
- A: I’ve been asked more over this period, speaking to artistic directors about writers of colour, than we ever have in the nine years of work I’ve worked for this organisation so I think it might shift, I think is beginning to shift and I really hope so. I really hope exactly what’s being talked about absolutely does happen, and I think there is a commitment there compared to maybe a few years ago.
- A: There’s the potential to take work forward in different ways, working with different people, so I really really hope that happens.
- A: I completely agree with you because obviously it’s a frustration of ours where we’re working on development all the time, because it’s what we were set up to do, but we obviously want people to have those opportunities and have those opportunities to make work on big stages as well as smaller pieces.
- A: Being able to diversify the artists we work with and specifically in terms of artists of colour has been a big driver for us for the last few years. One of the one of the reasons that we want to look at our artist development programme as a kind of a first outing, is that we are really concerned that actually artist development programmes potentially by their very nature, but perhaps ours is also contributing to there being this culture of development and artists not been able to actually move through and be properly resourced and get their work on stage at whatever levels of their career so that’s a big part of why we want to kind of unpick that and put it back together again hopefully in a better way.
- A: We are also talking about whether or not we need to have quotas, because despite all our best efforts and these being priorities written into all our business plans, actually, how do we make ourselves more accountable.
Q: What process did NTS use to recruit their new Associate artists?
- A: I’m open about the fact with our associates we don’t always do an open call, they are opportunities that we bring in artists on the basis of the priorities that we have for the organisation at that time on the basis of the artists who we feel will feed into the programme on the basis of what we need to achieve with our programme in the next year or so. Where we’ve changed the structural way that we have associates within the company, is that they’re no longer permanent post. So when I started the associates were salaried members of the team, and now they have one year contracts so that we can shift, and evolve, who is part of the institution.
- I think there’s been an organisational culture at NTS where we find the open calls process hard, but actually what we’ve realised using Scenes for Survival is that we can do it and we can manage it, as long as we put this sort of institutional effort into getting it right. And in doing that, we can open up what we do as well.
- There’s an artistic Strategy Group, that really analyses all of our programming decisions and all of the decisions around who’s coming into the organisation. So it was, recognising a kind of portfolio of experiences that we need within the company and then testing who might be able to provide those.
Q: Everyone talks about black lives matter but actually a lot of the black community are having to practice shielding for very practical reasons. If you’re shielding, how do you bring as an artist, how do you bring yourself to people’s attention? At the moment, because when lockdown eases for some people in the arts. Not everyone is going to be able to be visible.
- A: I think we we’ve all got a responsibility to make sure that we are continuing to pay artists regardless of whatever their personal circumstances are, and engaging artists. None of opening theatres back up excuses us from an obligation to comply with the Equalities Act and that applies not just to audiences but also obviously to our artists. I think we’ve been incredibly creative in the way that we have managed to employ people over the last five months. Why would we not be able to continue that as things are opening up but not for everyone?
- A: I suppose it’s just that being flexible thing, being flexible to people’s needs and, it’s easier for us because what we’re doing is quite bespoke one to one. We’ll try and do whatever that artist needs, and, you know, to suit them
- A: I suppose just not forgetting about people and being as wide in terms of our reach. And to make sure that we’re not forgetting about people. It’s like ‘well, what about that guy?’, just making sure that we’re giving him a bit of extra love in terms of making sure that he knows about future events and all that kind of stuff, because one of the really positive things that’s happened is, we’re getting many more people engaging in our gatherings, in our workshops than we ever have, a really diverse range of people from across Scotland.
- A: We’ve done more BSL and more captioning than we ever have – that will not change in future now, that’s a thing we’re doing. And I really hope nobody gets left behind out of this because that would be doubly horrendous.
QUESTIONS WE DIDN’T QUITE HAVE TIME FOR
- How do we negotiate navigate and support a focus on care and consent, and awareness of each other’s journey back to work according to their health needs, or their worries? I’ve heard of people traveling and going back to work with dance companies even when the guidance is to self-isolate after travel, which for me as someone with chronic health issues feels incredibly alienating, and it just makes me question our moral and social responsibility as a sector, when you hear of dance companies employing people who, according to the rules should be self-isolating. Is there a possibility of having a conversation about what some are moral and social responsibility for each other and onto our audiences? And I think that’s happening, you know, it’s happening on a wide scale I just thought I’d bring up here I guess in Scotland, we have an opportunity to have those conversations more locally.
- How do the art organisations in this Zoom room feel about being political and lobbying or being active in challenging policies that are increasing inequalities?
- Talking about care for freelancers and how we are free to get in touch is great, but myself and some other artists have been in touch pre-lockdown and heard nothing back. What about the back catalogue of artists they have not responded to? And that duty of care and actually how difficult it will be to get in touch again when we weren’t responded to in the first time? How about speed dating or something, what are the ways they can actually open forums up and channels of conversation to us, rather than just putting the ball back in our court?
- As someone who’s worked for a few of the companies present during this time I haven’t found a lot of follow through with email, how do we navigate that? Are people overwhelmed? Not accusing, but there’s been a lot of promises in the speeches
- With reference to providing opportunities for people with disabilities, how you do the organisations present imagine that they might connect with artists, and people who support artists, who have learning disabilities, specifically?
- Given the opportunities and money are so thin in the ground for freelancers at the moment, can I plead with organisations to make open calls standard across the board?
REFERENCES from chat & mentioned in conversation during the meeting:
- Playwrights Studio Scotland: Held a Playwrights Gathering in August, for which the transcript is available https://www.playwrightsstudio.co.uk/events/summer-2020/a-playwrights-gathering-a-future-of-living-creatively.aspx
- Playwriting programme is currently open for applications as normal – Mentoring Programme, New Playwrights Awards, and Professional programme https://www.playwrightsstudio.co.uk/programmes/playwriting-programme.aspx
- Starcatchers: Currently recruiting for their Creative Kin project posts recruiting at the moment – an artist & a coordinator post, each funded for three years https://www.starcatchers.org.uk/who-we-are/our-team/opportunities/
- Stellar Quines: offering one-to-one artist support sessions (https://www.stellarquines.com/2020/05/07/stellar-quines-offers-artist-support-sessions/)
- The Work Room: Over August had a call out for 10 artist research bursaries, flexible opportunities to support artists who wouldn’t necessarily be able to return to the Studio when it reopens https://theworkroom.org.uk/opportunities/artists-research-bursaries
- Membership is open to anyone working in dance, movement and/or choreography, and membership fees have currently been waived: https://theworkroom.org.uk/join/
- Cutting Edge working on a project called Springboard to create drama pathways (training, placements etc) for learning disabled artists – http://cuttingedgetheatre.co.uk/
- Unlimited have launched a new Commissioning Round, which opens on 1st October https://weareunlimited.org.uk/unlimited-launches-new-commissioning-round
- Venues, festivals and organisations can sign up to be Unlimited Allies https://weareunlimited.org.uk/home/get-involved/
- Anti-racism training:
- Tripod (https://tripodtraining.org/)
- Anti-Racist Educator (https://www.theantiracisteducator.com/)
- Anti-Racist Educator (https://www.theantiracisteducator.com/)
- Notes form FST Dance Forum on 23 June
- Care Harder – a presentation from Claire Cunningham & Luke Pell: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KrfiRdZvKK-XDFIbDDCozW06JKKZ4Qor/view
- UK Theatre have been putting together a response to the guidance about reopening theatres, through the lens of disability and consideration for artists who have been shielding, due to be published shortly: https://uktheatre.org/theatre-industry/advocacy-campaigns/dcms-entertainment-and-events-group/
- English Touring Theatre – Nationwide Voices, a programme supporting year-long playwrights-in-residence attachments: https://ett.org.uk/journal/nationwide-voices/
COMMENTS FROM THE CHAT
- Everyone is on the plane.
- Re: BLM. I have a 20yr history of applying to UK & Scottish funders for initiatives and projects within Scotland. Some things happened – but most were turned down as frustratingly it wasn’t a priority for so long. If anyone would like to share this knowledge, I’d be happy share any info. The funders who cancelled meetings, and weren’t interested in projects have now changed their priorities.
- Would orgs say they will be as committed to supporting a wider seam of artists of colour – established as well as new – who are already based in Scotland than previously. That is to say, working in deeper ways than just short term ‘development’.
- 10 years after the Equality Act was introduced – lots of carrot and no stick.
- Without wanting to make excuses, I wonder if there’s a fear of talking beyond ‘development’ in this moment because we don’t know when work will go on!
- And whatever you do, folks, please remember to think about making it accessible to your Deaf audience. Intersectionality and all that.
- How does supporting artists with disabilities connect with artists with learning disabilities specifically?
- We can’t forget to work harder for artists making work, but also to continue to develop roles that aren’t necessarily ‘makers’ so encouraging more diversity within our staff teams, back/offstage roles, governance etc
- I think the research bursaries from the Work Room at the moment particularly aimed at those who are shielding or with health concerns who can’t back to work as soon as others is really great.
- Playwrights Studio Scotland is a fantastic resource for theatre writers and theatre makers, if you have a specific need as a commissioner or producer ask them!
- Always follow Stellar Quines up with another email – we know that people have fallen through the gaps – it’s sheer volume for which I can only apologise. If you haven’t heard back, please email again and shame us!
- Horrified to hear that someone might not have been responded to. Please email me again directly if it’s something that Playwrights’ Studio has overlooked.
- let’s keep moving forward! There’s always HOPE!
COMPANY CONTACT DETAILS
- Birds of Paradise – https://www.boptheatre.co.uk/contact/
- National Theatre of Scotland – firstname.lastname@example.org for artistic ideas, solutions; email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org direct feedback on anything NTS is doing
- Playwrights Studio Scotland – email@example.com
- Starcatchers – Rhona.firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
- Stellar Quines – Hello@stellarquines.co.uk
- The Work Room – firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
We haven’t shared any other email addresses that were shared in the Chat function but if any attendees would like to be introduced, please do get in touch with Mhari and Ailie by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the final meeting in the “Freelancers &…” series of meetings for the moment.
Thank you to the 158 Freelancers and 64 representatives from 36 organisations that came to our meetings and shared key information and thinking on where they were at and how we could all better understand the changes to and impact on our sector. Thank you also to EPAD and Festivals Edinburgh who supported 2 of our 6 meetings.
Biggest thank yous to the 5 Freelance Composers, Sound Designers & Musicians (Sonia Allori, Danny Krass, Daniel Padden, Greg Sinclair, & Niroshini Thambar) who provided their music to help attendees feel welcome at our meetings, to Assistant Producer Ailie Crerar who is brilliantly supportive, and to Caitlin Skinner who facilitated these discussions with huge care & skill.