An open letter to theatre & performance makers
This is a letter to self-employed and freelance theatre and performance makers in the UK. To the actors, playwrights, directors, choreographers, stage managers, designers, stage crews and set-builders to name just a few.
We really miss being with you during this period of lockdown. Making theatre and performance is a collaborative endeavour, so we are particularly affected by having to be apart from one another right now. We’re not able to come together, in the same space, to share the experience of a live performance. We’re not able to practise and enjoy our artform in its most basic form.
It’s now looking increasingly likely that won’t be possible for months to come, and we recognise that many freelancers face real uncertainty about if and how they will be able to continue to work in theatre. 70% of people who work in theatre and performance in the UK are freelance or self-employed, and it’s for this workforce, in all its diversity and complexity, that the impact of the current situation is most acute.
During these past weeks we have had conversations with many of you to understand your needs and the ways you have been affected. We are writing to express our support for you, and to lay out some practical steps we are taking to improve the situation based on these conversations.
As well as exploring ways of producing work with freelancers during lockdown, and using this time to develop new projects with freelancers for the future, we are also are working together to coordinate our response to the government, to articulate clearly what we can offer and what we need.
Most urgently, we are calling for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to be extended in line with furloughing, for all self-employed workers, and in the specific case of theatre and performance workers, until theatres are able to safely reopen. We also want to see criteria removed from the scheme which are stopping legitimate and much-needed claims.
Some of you are already involved in these conversations. We welcome your voices and need to hear from more of you in the conversations to come. Your unique networks, skillsets, perspectives, and ideas are vital to the entire sector, and we need to work with you in our response to this crisis.
Each of the organisations who’ve signed this letter are committed to reaching out to their family of self-employed and freelance theatre makers; listening to how this is affecting your work and lives, and to your needs and ideas for the future.
More than that, we want to facilitate the establishment of a national task force of self-employed theatre and performance makers. The purpose of the task force is to strengthen the influence of the self-employed theatre and performance community. It would create ongoing points of connection between freelancers and organisations, and amplify the voice of the self-employed in the conversations to come. To help establish the task force, each of the organisations signing this letter will support a freelancer to join the group, ensuring they are paid for their time.
We want to offer a message of hope and solidarity. Our well-practised ability to work together, to form connections, and build relationships will help us through this. One day, hopefully soon, we will all be able to meet together, as people have done for centuries, in a shared space, for a shared experience. In the meantime, we remain committed to working for you and with you towards a sustainable future for theatre and performance.
Access All Areas
Action For Children’s Arts
Actors Touring Company
The Almeida Theatre
Barbican Theatre Plymouth
Battersea Arts Centre
Belarus Free Theatre
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Bristol Old Vic
The Bush Theatre
Chichester Festival Theatre
Chinese Arts Now
Company of Others
Curatin Call Online
Eden Court Highlands
English Touring Theatre
Frozen Light Theatre
Half of Cornwall
In Good Company
Jermyn Street Theatre
Little Angel Theatre
National Dance Company Wales
The National Theatre
National Theatre of Scotland
National Theatre Wales
National Youth Theatre of Great Britain
The New Wolsey Theatre
One Dance UK
Ramps on the Moon
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Rose Theatre Kingston
Royal & Derngate
The Royal Court Theatre
The Royal Shakespeare Company
Stephen Joseph Theatre
Studio Wayne McGregor
Taking Flight Theatre
Talawa Theatre Company
Theatre Royal Plymouth
Theatre Royal Stratford East
Wales Millennium Centre
Join Miracle Theatre’s Hannah Stephens for a one hour online drama workshop for families or young people supported by FEAST.
Expect a positive, creative and high energy hour for families to join in with together. Make new social interactions, play theatre games and most of all have fun!
The workshops will be for small groups and run using Zoom.
Family workshops available click here to BOOK
Come and join in!
Starting on Monday April 6th the first Monday of the month will officially be known as a ‘Miracle Monday’!
We have been steadily building a library of films of past shows and are thrilled to announce that we will release a new production FREE to watch online from 7pm on the 1st Monday of each month throughout the Spring and Summer 2020!
“This will be the first summer in 40 years that Miracle hasn’t been able to bring live theatre to the nooks and crannies of Cornwall, the Scilly Isles and the South West. We hope these films will bring back some happy memories and go some way towards filling the gap!” said Miracle’s Artist Director Bill Scott
Each show will available to view for 30 days via Miracle Theatre’s YouTube channel from 7pm on its release date.
“As the far-reaching effects of coronavirus continue to sink in, here at Miracle we are facing up to the strange reality of a summer with no tour.
This is especially hard as it will be the first year since 1988 that we haven’t loaded up a van with people, props, set and costumes and headed off to the far-flung reaches of the Cornwall and the South West.
Of course the shared experience of live theatre was always going to be an early casualty of the virus but over the coming months we will be looking for other ways we can stay connected with you, our lovely audience.
We intend to make the best use of the ‘empty’ hours by planning and developing new ideas, taking inspiration from William Shakespeare himself, who used his weeks of self-isolation from the plague to dash off King Lear!
Here’s hoping you can all stay safe and we look forward to resuming face to face contact in the reasonably near future.”
Miracle Theatre is sorry to announce that it has been forced to postpone its planned summer 2020 production of King Lear until 2021.
Every day that passes brings more news and guidance around Covid-19 that means this is the only responsible course of action for the company to take. Miracle has to consider the safety of its performers and audiences and to safeguard its financial stability: figures suggest that people are already choosing to stay away from public events and ticket sales are fundamental to Miracle’s continued existence.
Let’s hope the horizon clears fairly quickly and we can focus again on bringing live theatre to the far-flung corners of Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and the South West.