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On Thursday 21 May 2020 a group of performing arts organisations, including producing companies and venues, jointly signed a letter in support of the freelancers who make up a large and vital part of the ecology of the performance sector.
The letter had 3 main aims:
- To listen and respond to the needs of freelancers in the performing arts
- To call for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme to be extended in line with furloughing and until theatres can reopen in earnest
- To establish a Freelance Task Force of self-employed theatre and performance makers.
Each organisation signing up to the letter has committed to paying a freelancer for one day a week throughout June, July and August to join the Freelance Task Force.
Aims of the Freelance Task Force
The aim of the Freelance Task Force is to strengthen the influence of the self-employed theatre and performance community. 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.
The Freelance Task Force Member’s Role
It is up to the Freelance Task Force to establish its own structure as to how it fulfills these aims. We imagine that the Freelance Task Force will quickly establish its own agenda, set its own mission and organise itself. In sponsoring a freelancer, the signatories hope each member will work together with all other members of the Freelance Task Force 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
Relationship to Kneehigh
- Freelance Task Force members are not expected to represent Kneehigh or speak on their behalf, nor are they expected to undertake any other duties, on behalf of Kneehigh.
- Freelance Task Force members will operate at arm’s length, responsible to the self-employed community that they are part of.
- It is hoped that each Freelance Task Force member will use this opportunity to inform and influence their Sponsor Organisation (in this case Kneehigh), and to draw on Kneehigh’s support and networks should they need to.
- It is expected that the Freelance Task Force member will work in line with Kneehigh’s policies.
Every organisation is working in a different ways to identify and engage the freelancer they are sponsoring to be part of the Task Force. Some are appointing directly, some have a criteria and/or process in train, and some are offering to hold back and ‘fill gaps’ in representation. The Task Force aims to ensure good representation across the following areas:
- Discipline/role – performance, makers, technicians, stage management, support roles etc.
- Diversity – protected characteristics and also class and immigration status
- Age/experience range
Kneehigh will be looking at the following essential criteria:
- Significant experience working as a freelancer in the theatre industry (3+ years)
- Have been actively working as a freelancer in the theatre industry (in the last year)
- A proven and positive relationship with Kneehigh
- Knowledge of the theatre industry and ecology
- A proven desire to support and represent the freelance theatre community
- Experience of articulating ideas and informing discussions for positive change
- Will best represent what is required currently in terms of experience and diversity across the Freelance Task Force as a whole
Our selection process is not perfect, due to time and resource constraints (not least a much reduced staff due to furloughing) but we hope to have balanced these challenges with a process that is open and seeks to ensure representation and quality:
- Any applicant that does not fulfil the essential criteria will be taken out of the running
- Remaining applicants would then be looked at against the representation tracker across every sponsor organisation supporting a member of the Freelance Task Force
- From the remaining applicants, one will be selected at random.
Each Freelance Task Force member will be paid for 13 days work i.e. one day a week throughout June, July and August at a rate that reflects the Sponsor Organisation’s typical daily freelance rate.
For Kneehigh this is £150 per day, so a total of: £1,950
It is not expected that further expenses will be incurred.
Working days: to be determined around individual availability & preference, and in coordination with the national Freelancer task force
Expected Start date: w/c 15 June 2020
Expected End date: w/c 24 August 2020
Applications close at 9AM on Thursday 11 June 2020
Appointment made on Thursday 11 June 2020
To apply please follow this link Application Form
This position is open to all who work within the sector on short term contracts, which could be self-employed contracts or contracts of employment.