Joint statement by In Good Company, Derby Theatre, Curve Leicester, Nottingham Playhouse, and Royal and Derngate, Northampton
On Thursday 21 May 2020 a group of performing arts organisations from across the country, including In Good Company, Derby Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, Curve Leicester, and Royal And Derngate Northampton jointly signed a letter in support of the freelancers who make up a large and vital part of the ecology of the performance sector.
70% of people who work in theatre and performance in the UK are freelance or self-employed, and it’s for this workforce, in all its diversity and complexity, that the impact of the current situation is most acute.
Each signatory has committed to sponsoring a freelancer for one day a week throughout June, July and August to join the Freelance Task Force. Each organisation across the country has recognised that transparency and representation are critical to the success of this task force, while accommodating the speed with which the group is being assembled.
Organisations locally have been working together to facilitate the members of the task force and have done this in a variety of ways; this has happened against the backdrop of a national effort, headed up by Fuel, to monitor all sponsorships centrally to ensure representation nationally.
Each venue developed a shortlist taking into consideration the following: Geography, discipline/role, cultural diversity, class, immigration status, age, disability, career experience, gender, LGBTQI+, caring responsibilities; the ability to advocate, network and reach people on both a local and national scale.
Keen to reach the broadest and most diverse set of people, In Good Company then sponsored an additional task force member which was sought through a nomination process, ensuring that those who are being represented had a say in who represented them. Nominations were welcomed from any self-employed person working in theatre. They received 109 nominations from freelancers and as a result have developed working relationships with many freelancers that were previously unknown to them.
The local freelancers joining the National Task Force are:
Rebecca D’Souza and Hannah Stone (job share) sponsored by Nottingham Playhouse – pictured above
Caroline Parker and Omar Khan (job share) sponsored by Derby Theatre
Sarah Travis sponsored by Curve Leicester
Naomi Obeng sponsored by In Good Company
Lisa Mellor and Polly Jerrold (job share) sponsored by Royal and Derngate, Northampton
The Freelance Task Force will quickly establish its own agenda, set its own mission and organise itself. The aim of the Freelance Task Force is to strengthen the influence of the self-employed theatre and performance community. and to be paid to do so completely autonomously.
As a Freelance Task Force member these freelancers will not be expected to represent or speak on the sponsoring organisations behalf, nor will they be expected to undertake any other duties.