Theatre News

New freelance scheme launched to help creative organisations improve work practices

Given how much freelancers have lost during the pandemic, the move is an important one

Freelancers making freelance work
Freelancers making freelance work

An upcoming scheme will see 50 performing arts freelancers collaborate with organisations to improve work practices.

With 60 per cent of London's freelancers having lost all of their income during the pandemic, the project aims to build sustainable models for the freelance community to prevent more calamities like the one seen over the last year.

Fifty freelancers will be assembled from early May to work with a variety of organisations including the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, the Barbican, Battersea Arts Centre, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, the Old Vic and the Young Vic to bolster provisions for the self-employed.

Jessica Antwi-Boasiako will faciliate the project, with Charlotte Mafham, Marie Wilson and Miranda Yates also part of the scheme.

An advisory group of Jamie Beddard, Lily Einhorn, Lilli Geissendorfer, Ameena Hamid, James Hodgson, Tarek Iskander, Jeanefer Jean-Charles, Jennifer Jackson Chi-chi Nwanoku and Jo Tyabji will assist.

The freelance community has had a particularly fraught time during the pandemic – a significant portion have found they are ineligible for the government's Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and, as a result, received very little by way of direct state support while venues remain closed and opportunities are sparse.

Almost 92 per cent of organisations recently surveyed said they were "extremely" or "very" concerned about the freelance workforce's imminent decline if this lack of support continues, while 80 per cent said that freelancers are essential to their long term recovery plans.