On 21st July 2020, at a Performance for Young Audiences – England online monthly ‘Zoom cafe’, the Freelance Task Force working group – Theatre for Young Audiences facilitated discussions with freelancers and organisations. Starting with:
What do you need as freelancers to do your best work?
Introduction & Provocations from Freelancers
The meeting was a space for over 50 freelancers to share their experiences, needs and wants, to bring to the table the voices of 70% of those working in theatre who are freelance, and for their voices to be heard by companies and venues.
We all want the same thing – for the children and young people for whom we make work, to see and experience the best possible theatre/performance.
It was unusual and exciting to have so many freelancers at one of these meetings, so representatives of companies and venues were invited to take this opportunity to listen and reflect, to hear what freelancers need in order to make their best work – and to reflect on what their organisation/company might be able to do to support this. It was recognised by the freelancers that many companies and venues are already beacons of excellence/models of good practice but there might be something mentioned by a freelancer that they don’t do already, or there may be something that they could do better.
It was just the start of a conversation and will, we hope, set the agenda for ongoing discussions.
There was an amazing range of responses from the freelancers at the meeting to the two questions posed. The Theatre for Young Audiences Report page collects and consolidates the responses into four categories for each question, and the summary page highlights the categories and some key points within those.
The image shows the most common themes which emerged from the discussion, the different sizes indicating frequency the word/theme was mentioned (apart from Performance-Young-Audiences, freelancers and organisations which were added to demonstrate context.
The meeting was hosted by Performances for Young Audiences (PYA) England, chaired by Wendy Harris.
BSL Interpretation and live captioning was also provided.
The Freelance Taskforce Theatre for Young Audience (TYA) group who hosted and facilitated the discussion:
Sarah Argent, Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey, Althea Burey, Jane Crawshaw, Maia Kirk Rich, Hannah McPake, Naomi Oppenheim, Hannah Quigley, Jessica Thanki.