Who attended the session: (apologise for mis-spellings / wrong names / missed folk)
Mike Kenny – freelance playwright
Tanith Mackenzie
Will Edwards – Freelance stage manager
Nathan Jackson – Wildworks – both freelance and employed by an NPO
Saskia Baylis (not freelancer but volunteer with OPENHIRE [email protected]
Cens (?) Jones – casting & young company manager BYMT
Haddon Kime
Beth Punnett – coordinator at Shakespeare Schools Foundation
Kylie Perry – The Paper Birds
Henrietta Duckworth – freelance producer – [email protected]
[email protected]

Summary of Discussion:
Moans / frustrations / challenges :
FL are often very experienced and knowledgeable – a frustration in not being heard or allowed ‘at the table’ and a sense of infantizing.
Discussed the changing & changed landscape of industry and the impact on freelancers.
An industry that is squeezed in all directions – venues struggling, companies struggling, FL struggling.
Lack of communication between companies and venues with freelancers
Sometime lack of recognition of the freelance community and collaborators from companies and venues.
Freelancers typically under-valued – recognised that this is a systematic problem resulting from lack of funding generally
Lack of ‘union’ and industry standards resulting in low pay and sense of ‘if I don’t do it with those conditions, someone else will’
Lack of lead-in times for preparation – also the transient nature of the work people coming and going leads to less community building.
A lonely place – FL lacking sense of space and place that is more permanent – venues could be this more.

What can companies do to value and help freelancers that isn’t just about money & pay?
- flexibility – understanding that FL are often pulled in many directions (other jobs, care responsibilities etc.)
- inclusion in, invitations to, events etc. including when they are no longer working on that project / in the building. Venues building, maintaining and honouring their freelance community
- more transparency from venues – budgets etc.
- more conversations with freelancers.
- a lack of communication or mis-communication is the source of a fair amount of frustration. Having frank conversations from venues, companies and FL would be good.
- more communication and awareness from companies and venues to the FL community – e.g. marketing team meeting the creatives, technical team being introduced. Always credit your people!!
- use the knowledge of your freelancers – be more open to them and receive from them. Use them as a resource.
- pay fairly and on time and if there are financial struggles then Talk to your FL – working with them to find workable solutions.

Recommendations for actions
- More transparency from companies and venues – to FL.
Be open, celebrate, understand.
- More & better conversations and communication between companies & FL. Use FL as a resource – work through some challenges together. If there are issues (e.g. budgets are tight) then discuss with FL – FL will understand and find a workable way to figure it out.
- FL forming stronger communities and collectively fighting for better rates of pay – being rigorous in saying no where necessary.
- Companies & Venues must recognise and credit their artists – always! A little bit of recognition and appreciation goes a long way.
- FL learning from more commercial models – setting higher rates of pay for e.g.
- Forming better FL connections – challenge and develop bodies that hold FL – unions for e.g.