Convener(s):    Ellan Parry

Participants:  Kate Lane, Sarah Grange, Samal Blak, Chris Grady, Mark Price, Rosanne Peak Payne

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

If you think about how much theatre is produced in this country, probably something like 1 in 1000 creative jobs is publicly advertised. Labour laws exist to protect people from this in other industries, so why is it ignored in ours?  Technical, backstage and admin jobs seem much more often to be publicly advertised, is this because unions such as BECTU are better at ensuring this, or is it because people don’t care enough about techies to be nepotistic? 

Most of the people making the decisions in theatre, particularly at the highest levels, all seem to have gone to school or Oxbridge with each other.

Collaborative nature of theatre means that people form creative partnerships and ensembles, meaning that they’re more comfortable working with people they know and have worked with before.  But good things can happen when people go outside their comfort zone and work with new people. 

Theatre can feel like a closed club – fine if you’re a member, difficult if you’re not, and very hard to get into if you don’t know the right people.

The accepted route in theatre of starting out by working for free will tend to filter out the non-wealthy. 


Go to Oxbridge.  One of the group had a friend who was taking three years out of her career to do a BA at Cambridge mainly in order to meet ‘the right people’.

Don’t be afraid to approach people, seek them out to ask advice etc, build up relationships.

Let’s lobby Equity.  Get them to force the National Theatre (as it’s supposed to be for the public, funded by public money) to publicly advertise not only technical posts but director, designer jobs etc.   If not for all its shows then maybe just one per season?  Let’s make this happen by next year!  Start a petition.

Problem with publicly advertising jobs at major theatres – potentially swamped with unsuitable applicants.  Solution: DEAL WITH IT.  Employer’s responsibility to filter applications as in any other industry, also word advertisement so that level of skill and experience required is clear.  The graphic design world has a better model – jobs are advertised, and there’s an accepted scale, so companies can advertise for a ‘mid-weight’ designer etc – could we not adopt this model?

Nepotism is ultimately bad for theatre as well as the people who work in it – leads to stagnant and samey work – let’s open the doors. 

www.artsjobs.org.uk  - there are loads of sites like this advertising work in smaller organizations – degree of immediate gratification/high job which isn’t the norm.  Free sites are used to v. v. v. good effect but you  have to scour.