An Open Letter To Theatre And Performance Makers
Birmingham Repertory Theatre is proud to be a signatory of this open letter to theatre and performance makers, alongside many other theatre, performance companies and venues across the UK.
Audio, BSL, easy read and large print versions of the below letter are available to listen to, watch and download on the right hand side of this page.
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
More In Blog
Birmingham Royal Ballet To Go Ahead With Live Streaming Adapted Version Of The Nutcracker At Birmingham Repertory TheatreFollowing news of Birmingham's Tier 3 status last week, and ongoing uncertainty about what will be possible post 16 December, Birmingham Royal Ballet has taken the difficult decision to...
Audiences Asked To Save A Seat This Christmas To Raise Funds For Birmingham Repertory Theatre And Birmingham Royal BalletThis festive season, audiences are being asked to Save A Seat as part of a new fundraising campaign by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Birmingham Royal Ballet. This December, the two...
West Midlands' Black Artists & Organisational Leads Launch More Than A Moment - Action With And For Black CreativesToday, a group of Black artists and leaders from arts organisations across the West Midlands, launch a pledge for action: More Than a Moment: Action with and for Black Creatives. It marks the...
Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Repertory Theatre Announce Adapted Version Of The NutcrackerFollowing last week's sold-out performances of Lazuli Sky, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Repertory Theatre are excited to announce a specially adapted production of the classic Christmas...
"It's Not Just A Theatre Company - It's A Movement" - Lightpost Appoints New Artistic LeadersMathias Andre and CJ Webley, two previous members of Lightpost Theatre Company, have now successfully been employed in leadership roles. In 2015, Birmingham Repertory Theatre took part in an...
The REP Launches REP RELOADED To Provide Pioneering Digital Engagement For Young People Across The West MidlandsBirmingham Repertory Theatre has built a trailblazing national reputation for its innovative engagement projects, including city-wide Youth Theatre groups and creative learning in schools across...
"Shakespeare Has A Unique Way Of Connecting The Universal To The Individual" - Romeo & Juliet Rehearsal BlogIn fair Verona Birmingham, we continue to rehearse many scenes... Since joining us as part of Adult Drama Company and featuring in Scenes From A Brummie Iliad, Corinna Haycox talks to...
#YourLifeMatters – Theatre Helps Young People Explore Harsh Realities of Youth ViolenceOver the summer The REP and our Lightpost Theatre group have been working with First Class Legacy to deliver a summer programme for young people. The programme culminates next week with a performance...
"Creating an emotional reaction in an audience, through your work, is fairly addictive" - In Conversation with Rachael MainwaringIn advance of our REP Foundry Night on 14 June, we caught up with our brilliant 2019 Foundry Artists. Next up is Rachael Mainwaring... What made you first want to create...
"Being able to perform a piece of original work at a place that means a lot to me is something very special" - In Conversation with Sam ColeIn advance of REP Foundry Nights on 7 & 14 June, we caught up with our brilliant 2019 Foundry Artists. Next up is Sam Cole... What made you first want to create theatre? I have always...
"The most exciting thing about REP Foundry is that anything is possible" - In Conversation with Ashlee Elizabeth LoloIn advance of REP Foundry Nights on 7 & 14 June, we caught up with our brilliant 2019 Foundry Artists. First up is Ashlee Elizabeth Lolo... What made you first want to create theatre?...
“It’s a love letter to theatre” - Designer Robert Innes Hopkins Chats About The Set Of Edmond de BergeracEdmond de Bergerac is the triumphant hit comedy that has taken France by storm, and now as the play gets its first outing in the UK, we had a chat to Designer Robert Innes Hopkins about the show...
Artistic Director, Roxana Silbert, Announces Birmingham Repertory Theatre's Exciting 2019 Spring and Summer SeasonRoxana Silbert has today announced plans for the theatre's Spring and Summer 2019 season. Speaking of the forthcoming programme, Roxana said: “Revolution is something Birmingham was...
Lottery Boost Set To Strengthen The Mental Health, Wellbeing and Skills of Birmingham's Young African Caribbean MenYoung African Caribbean men across Birmingham will benefit from National Lottery funding totalling almost £750,000, thanks to a life-changing scheme initiated by Birmingham Repertory Theatre...
"I have always been making theatre in some form or another": Meet REP Foundry Artist, Bethany KapilaMeet our final REP Foundry artist, Bethany Kapila as she considers who inspires her and what drove her to want to create theatre. What made you first want to create theatre? I have always...
"The stage is set, the performers are ready; the only thing needed is an audience" - The Making of WoyzeckAs the opening night of The REP's production of Woyzeck draws closer, the atmosphere backstage has become an electric combination of nervous anticipation and excitement. For one final time, before...
"We've drunk lots of tea, eaten lots of samosas and shared lots of stories" - Furnace Artist Manjeet updates us on how her project is taking shapeIn the latest in our series of blogs, we catch up with Manjeet Mann about her project with Ashiana Community Project, Run The World, and how the performance is taking shape. Today marked the end...
"Expect a completely unique experience!" - Introducing our next Furnace Artist, Sarah Hamilton BakerWe'd like to introduce our next Furnace artist, Sarah Hamilton Baker, who is working with the community at Focus, a visual impairment charity in Birmingham. I first started working with The...
"I’m hoping Run The World will chart empowerment, strength and solidarity" Furnace Artist Manjeet Mann tells us more about her projectWe're continuing our series of blogs highlighting the work of our Furnace Artists, who are working in communities around Birmingham to create theatre with, for and about that community. Next...
"I love the power that theatre has to tell stories" - The latest from Furnace Artist Jay CrutchleyCommunity is at the heart of what we do and we are especially proud of our Furnace community engagement programme, that sees theatre makers from The REP working in five different Furnace...
"Fantastic. Caring. Enthusiastic." In Conversation With Defending MonologueSlam Champion, Ruby RichardsMonologueSlam, the industry showcase for actors, returns to The REP Friday 18 May for an action-packed evening of live entertainment. We caught up with returning and defending champion, Ruby...
"It talks about things we don't talk about much" - Cathy Tyson tells us more about The String Quartet's Guide To Sex And AnxietyAhead of the opening night of The String Quartet's Guide To Sex And Anxiety, we caught up with Cathy Tyson to talk about the show. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the show?...
"I feel passionately about the power of shared stories and experiences" - We catch up with Furnace Artist Rachael MainwaringCommunity is at the heart of what we do and we are especially proud of our Furnace community engagement programme, that sees theatre makers from The REP working in five different Furnace...
“When someone sits and watches the performance, it is about what is happening to them in their head" Hofesh Shechter on Grand Finale“Many times people want to know what I meant in a particular dance piece,” says Hofesh Shechter, “And I think it doesn't really matter. What matters is what happens on stage...
"It’s a really exciting time to be in Birmingham and The REP is a big part of that": Meet REP Foundry Artist Will JacksonWhat made you first want to create theatre? I was really lucky when I was little and my mum took me to see Cats in London. There was a bit when Old Deuteronomy (who's this really old, mangy...
Artistic Director, Roxana Silbert, Announces Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Exciting 2018 Autumn and Winter SeasonRoxana Silbert has today announced plans for the theatre's 2018 Autumn and Winter season. Speaking of the forthcoming programme, Roxana said: “It is with enormous pleasure that we...
"I first encountered the book whilst recovering in hospital having broken my foot dancing naked with some bananas"Paul Hunter, Artistic Director of Told by an Idiot on the story behind their latest show, Napoleon Disrobed. Napoleon Disrobed is based on the novel The Death of Napoleon by Simon Leys. I first...
"I’ve been surrounded by inspiring women throughout my life": Happy International Women's DayIn celebration of International Women's Day and the inspiring women who are integral to The REP, two of our 2018 Furnace artists, Rachael Mainwaring and Manjeet Mann share what it means to be a...
‘Theatre is a real team effort – using skills to achieve a common goal. I relish that.’: Meet REP Foundry artist Michael SouthanMichael Southan on becoming a REP Foundry artist What made you first want to create theatre? When I think back to my school days of studying drama, it was theatre's ability to...
'I realised the great power theatre can have to connect people': Meet REP Foundry artist Lorna Nickson BrownLorna Nickson Brown on becoming a REP Foundry artist What made you first want to create theatre? When I was a teenager, I performed in a play called The Laramie Project. It was a verbatim...
“If you’re going to play Medea, then you really have to go for it” - Neil Bartlett on Medea: Written in RageThis month a reimagining of the Greek myth, Medea: Written in Rage, comes to The REP. Neil Bartlett, translator and director, tells us more about the production. Tell us about the story of Medea...
Disabled Access Day At Birmingham Repertory Theatre - A Blog By Billy Coughlin, Agent For ChangeWe caught up with our Agent For Change, Billy Coughlin, who chatted to us about Disabled Access Day and Ramps on the Moon. In a nutshell, I am responsible for working with all departments at The...