Freelance Task Force
We’re delighted to announce Athena Stevens as our appointment for the Freelance Task Force
Earlier in May, we were delighted to announce that we, along with over 100 other arts organisations, signed an open letter to freelancers working across the theatre industry.
The letter stated a commitment to stand in solidarity with our community of freelancers, to keep lines of communication open as we reimagine how we make and participate in theatre going forward, and to support the establishment of a National Task Force of Freelancers. Fuel Theatre company are coordinating this nationwide initiative.
What is the Freelance Task Force?
The purpose of the Freelance Task Force is to strengthen the influence of the self-employed theatre and performance community of actors, playwrights, directors, choreographers, stage managers, designers, stage crews and set-builders, to name just a few, who make up over 70% of the theatre and performance industry. It will create ongoing points of connection between freelancers, organisations, funders, and government and amplify the voice of the self-employed in the conversations to come about how we manage the response to and recovery from the Covid-19 crisis in the performing arts sector. As an organisation that relies so heavily on our freelance workforce we felt it was important to support this initiative.
Most urgently, the Freelance Task Force is calling for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to be extended in line with furloughing, for all self-employed workers, and in the specific case of theatre and performance workers, until theatres are able to safely reopen. They also want to see criteria removed from the scheme which are stopping legitimate and much-needed claims.
How does it work?
The Freelance Task Force has asked each organisation to nominate and financially support one freelance artist. Crucially each artist represents the freelance community, rather than the organisation that nominated them, but in turn they provide a point of connection between freelancers and organisations, and amplify the voice of the self-employed in the conversations to come.
The Freelance Task Force will work together to:
- co-ordinate wider conversations with freelancers in their area and/or specialism
- hold and participate in regular Freelance Task Force meetings
- attend meetings and events on behalf of the Freelance Task Force
- lobby on behalf of the wider freelance community
- ensure that information is widely distributed
Our Freelance Task Force appointment
We could not be more delighted to say that Shakespeare’s Globe will be sponsoring Athena Stevens to join the Freelance Task Force. As a member of our Creative Council, and a freelancer who has worked with us as a writer, director and an actor, she has an understanding of our organisation, of who we are and the work we produce. As she is also part of our Creative Council it will mean that issues coming out of the Freelance Task Force can be brought right to the heart of the organisation to ensure that our entire community of freelancers, who work with us across the organisation, are supported and heard by us and inform an integral part of our recovery plan.
As Athena says:
‘As an industry of freelancers, for too long we have been told that ‘everything will work out as long as we hope for the best.’ This pandemic has shown very clearly that good wishes and happy thoughts it not enough without appropriate professional protection and a clear commitment to accountability. It is my hope that in our community of artists within the National Task Force of Freelancers, I can help our industry put clear, tangible protections in place so that we can create from a place of stability going forward.’
You can find out more about the Freelance Task Force on the Fuel Theatre website.