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'Freelancers Make Theatre Work' Publishes Survey Findings into the Relationship Between Organisations and Freelance Workers in the Performing Arts Sector

The findings of this report are compiled from a survey of 98 producing organisations throughout the UK.

New survey data collected by Freelancers Make Theatre Work reveals the interdependence of organisations and freelancers in the performing arts sector.

Despite the Government's investment of £1.57 billion in the cultural and heritage sectors, with little or no direct support for freelancers, performing arts organisations remain extremely concerned about the loss of the freelance workforce and the impact this will have on their ability to make work again.

The findings of this report are compiled from a survey of 98 producing organisations throughout the UK, including The National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and Sheffield Theatres with data collected between 27 August and 11 December 2020.

In 2019, the performing arts sector added over £7 billion to the nation's GVA.

The sector directly employed 290,000 workers, 71% of whom were freelancers or self-employed (compared to the national average of 16%).

Approximately one-third of freelancers and the self-employed have received no support from government since theatres were shut down in March.

Key Findings

· Prior to Covid-19, performing arts organisations spent 39.4% of their annual turnover on freelancers.

· 80.6% of the workforce on a typical production were freelancers.

· 91.8% of organisations reported that they are extremely or very concerned about the contraction of the freelance workforce.

· 77.6% of organisations reported that they are extremely concerned about sustaining and developing a diverse freelance workforce.

· 91.8% of organisations reported that they are extremely or very concerned about the loss of freelance experience and leadership.

· 83.7% of organisations reported that freelancers are essential to their organisations starting to make work again.

· 80.6% of organisations reported that freelancers are essential to their organisations' long-term recovery plans.

To read the full report see here.

In England, only 7.9% (£123.5 million) of the £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund has been distributed in grants to the theatre sector; however, these funds are not designed to - nor can they - provide direct support for the freelance theatre workforce.

Only organisations that elect to undertake production activity can support the freelance theatre workforce; however, any scheduled activity is now at risk as a result of new Covid-19 restrictions.

Theatres will remain closed under the national lockdown. Once out of lockdown, for many theatres in Tiers 1 and 2, a capacity of 50% will prevent them from re-opening until after March 2021.

The jobs that would be generated by these productions are mostly freelance workers who will not be able to take advantage of the furlough scheme.

To read the full report see here.



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