As our industry slowly returns to work, AAPTLE members are eager to make theatre again and to collaborate with our fellow artists and theatre workers. For many of us, any offer of work will be the first income we have received since March 2020. As much as we want to return to work, we call on producers to uphold, at a minimum, pre-COVID rates so that all workers and freelancers can be protected from being asked to pay for the recovery of the industry.
We also urge producers to acknowledge that the work required from every member of the production team is likely to take longer under the COVID-19 back-to-work guidance. When budgetary cuts are necessary these should sit in physical costs. They should not be made in peoples’ fees. Prior to 2020, fees and conditions were at an unsustainably low level for many within the freelance community.
It is vital for theatre’s ecology that our industry can be a beacon of inclusivity, access, diversity, sustainability and socio-economic representation. Fees need to make it possible for makers of all backgrounds and characteristics to afford to make the work. To ensure our progress, rates need to be upheld to support the removal of barriers and open up our sector to create opportunities to all regardless of ethnicity, gender, class, disability, caring responsibilities, sexual orientation and to those who are underrepresented: addressing the existing inequalities that were present pre COVID-19 and that now risk becoming even greater.
We acknowledge that some temporary terms have already been agreed. If, beyond the terms of the temporary agreements, members are offered lower rates of pay or reduced conditions, regardless of whether the job is accepted, we are advising our members to contact their professional bodies and their unions or representatives. These contracts should state that any reduced rates will be explicitly temporary and non-precedential.
Let’s work together to share best practice and create vibrant, inclusive, accessible and representative theatre and live entertainment of which we can all be proud. We invite all companies and producers to join us in this endeavour and put their name to this statement.
Freelancers Make Theatre Work
Association of Lighting Designers
Stage Management Association
Costume In Theatre Association
Stage Directors UK
Association of Sound Designers
We Shall Not Be Removed
Movement Directors’ Association
Association of British Theatre Technicians
Society of British Theatre Designers
Production Managers Forum
Class and Coronavirus
The Video Code
Association of Scenic Artists and Makers
Personal Managers’ Association