#GiveArtistsAChance

“I honestly believe that if you’re focused, passionate and driven, you can achieve anything you want in life.”

"Your time is limited; so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by Dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking." 

#GiveArtistsAChance

“Life Happens. The unexpected. The uncalled for. The unintentional. We’ve been damaged emotionally. We’ve been damaged spiritually.”

“It is staying with the breaking, that produces the blessing. It is not what you go through that determines where you end up. It’s who you listen to. ‘Cause I think right now, you’re walking through a valley between two voices.”

Response.

Hello, 

Thank you for reaching out to us and shedding some light on this situation. We had a feeling that this was irresponsible journalism and we are disgusted that the Stage has taken such a divisive decision. 
Our statement was in reply to the Stage publication.

We did not name anybody, and we responded to information in the article. 

We are transparent in the public and it is our right as a workforce to seek legal and effective forms of protest against a system that has been incredibly dismissive of freelance workers. 

Our problem, is a lack of transparency, which is the Stage’s direct responsibility and we hold them completely accountable for the environment that we are now all in.

 The unfortunate thing, is that, as we have seen, the behaviors in the industry whilst workers are so unsure of their future, have still been incredibly unclear. We have also been informed, that in some of these talks, but not all, there is allegations of workers being threatened with legal action and receiving abusive phone calls.

We have been receiving phone-calls with workers in floods of tears.
 Workers who are on shows, are not being notified before the public when they are cancelled. This has created stress, disappointment, and a severe effect on workers’ mental healths. 

The workers that this is affecting, are making this public knowledge. 

We have been very clear that these are the Stage’s suggestions. 

We do not have the nuance to discuss this as we are the worker’s collective and we have been left out of these conversations. 

We are also incredibly worried that the brunt of these decisions are on smaller producers and not theatre owners which is a delegation that should not have been done. 

We have operated our addresses, including criticism and backlash from the industry, in the public forum. 

If the producers would like a more nuanced conversation, or a chance to speak out against this, they must do it on the public forum or directly contact the Stage.

If you would like to facilitate this with us, we would offer every support for you to have every right to explain. 

It is the Stage’s duty, as the biggest theatre publication in our industry, to address and rectify this. 

Since we initiated our work in March and published our statement, we have been receiving various death threats and abusive language. 

We are currently collating this and will open up a police inquiry if necessary. 

We also do not work in the public forum with anonymous data as this would be incredibly irresponsible.  

We would require names of the producers this is affecting and substantial evidence. 
I hope this makes our stance clear. 

Theatre Action. 

Furloughed Workers Response

To the Establishment and Stage Publication,

Theatre Action was made as a platform and movement to hold an imbalanced industry to account. We are in the firm belief, that civil disobedience is only made purposeful with direct action. Direct action must be done with the utmost intelligence and focus, backed up by statistical and political historic fact. This is why, our first campaign was based around diversity data.

Data is fundamental, in holding focus, truth and immoveable rage that eventually disrupts structural systems. If you hold them to their own knowledge, they can only fall.

The Stage released a story yesterday suggesting that there are producers in our industry that seek to recoup the 20% contribution they paid to top up workers’ furlough schemes. It was suggested they seek to do this by taking a percentage out of workers’ wages. As a workforce, who have agency, and take pride in what we do, here is our response.

IF this is an actual discussion, release the names of the producers. This is a public interest matter.

As we move towards a kinder, safer and more considerate workforce and arts sphere, we would give the organizations the opportunity to drop this implementation and apologize to the workers who they would have caused unnecessary stress. We would urge them to treat their workers with respect during and after these conversations. We would give them 14 days for this action to be implemented.

If this would not be met, or any employee would suffer an unrightful job loss or any intimidation, we would enact a strategic and industry wide financial boycott, inclusive of the financial sponsors and corporate sponsors if they have them.

We can not use empty words to create a new environment. We must act, in all faces of immoral treatment of our workers. We must stand for a principled, intelligent and caring motivation, which will help shape a new tomorrow, with artists at the center.

It is not the workers who are at fault for the government’s great mishandling of our industry, and it is incorrect for them to suffer any losses. We are not naïve to think that this will be an easy fight. We would mobilize a legal team, just in case it is necessary and act to create a fund to compensate workers if they are unfairly dismissed. As an industry, we all have a duty of care, if the culprits would not hold themselves responsible and would seek to unfairly take away their jobs.

We hold those who would be affected by this, in massive solidarity.

Industry Injustice

As a newly formed organisation, we have been navigating the space that is a secretive industry. In a top down model, with an imbalance of resources between workers and institutions, we’ve been proud to see a changing landscape, with power being implemented by the workers who have often been vulnerable or unheard. We’re seeing changes that must be made to meet needs if we are to truly achieve a better, more representative workplace for everyone.

We are still collating arts information from arts organisations for the #PullUpORShutUp campaign and rigorously insisting that they be specific as possible in the breakdowns of data. We thank those who have already engaged with this but there are still huge gaps and many organisations who have failed to get in touch. We strenuously encourage them to look through their numbers and openly share the data in terms of representation and inclusion within their buildings.

In the last week, we have also had several complaints and allegations about the Old Vic and their management team. These have come into our inbox and we deeply thank the victims brave enough to reach out to us. We will protect their identities and support them in whatever way we are able. We have also received complaints about other organisations and we know from recent sharing on social media, and the work done by artists on #MeToo a few years ago that there are many stories of harrassment, abuse, intimidation and hostile working environments within our industry.

What is also clear is that since #MeToo the industry has yet to come up with a viable way to monitor, report and effectively deal with these complaints and allegations. Complaints are invariably dealt with in house behind closed doors. Victims often going up against a whole building and their legal team means that they are most likely to drop the complaint and disappear. The data we have been receiving about representation in organisations is intrinsically linked to how these complaints are dealt with. For example, if you are the only Black employee in an organisation, complaining about racial discrimination, when it is against those higher up in the hierarchies; the route to this is hostile and complicated. Representation and the structures of our buildings actively work against those in the global majority from being treated equitably.

We are writing this as a way to keep the conversation going whilst we make more structured moves. We ask our colleagues and friends to be the integral part of this conversation. We want to be able to change the structures that work against so many of us. We want safety, power and respect for all the artists that have been wronged. A safer future for those who add the value and keep this industry going. Our next step is to ask institutions to gather numerical data on how many complaints they have had formally recorded in the last 10 years, broken down by year in percentages. We’re not looking for intricate details of each complaint, we’re looking for the holistic numbers. Despite this, if any victims would like to speak to us privately about a complaint, this is still possible. Following this, we want to ask institutions what structures they currently have in place for dealing with complaints and allegations and therefore try to find a model for best practice. Finally, we would hope to create a new system that all organisations can easily incorporate to make sure their workplaces become open, safe and happy places.

We encourage those both in and out of organisations to come forward and engage with us on this. We are asking for an open dialogue so that doors don’t get closed and solutions swept under the carpet. We have a real chance for change.

And for those with complaints who feel like they have nowhere to go, our email address is always open and we pledge to keep you anonymous. It is not for you to become exposed or do the hard work. It is for those organisations to do it. So often we hear “But what if people make false accusations?” To which, we would say, that if your working environment is open, honest and happy, you won’t have anything to worry about.

Build better structures with open, transparent and fair procedures and false accusations will be far and few between. Work with us to make this happen. We don’t have all the answers, but we have some ideas. Let’s change things with our own power and vision so no-one ever has to suffer the abuse that has been ongoing, even under campaigns fighting.

TCTA