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Equity’s Independent Theatre Arts Committee

Review of 2010 – Looking forward to 2011

Equity’s Independent Theatre Arts Committee (ITAC) has been busy over the last 12 months. This
newsletter/review is designed to keep Equity members on the Independent Theatre Arts Register
informed of the committees work. If you would like more detail or indeed have information/feedback
you think we would find useful please e mail us via our organiser Hannah Packham on
Industry sectors which ITAC covers with include, independent theatre (i.e. not West End, Commercial
Tours, or Subsidised Reps), Outdoor and Rural Touring, Fringe, TIE (Theatre in Education), Role Play,
Social Theatre including workshops, small scale opera & dance companies.


Members ITACs biggest challenge quite some time and it local pubs and clubs,
in 2011 is to defend the is important that Equity youth and community
Fran Rifkin independent theatre turns out in force. ITAC groups, dance or
Chair sector, and other hopes that members on theatre in education.
publicly funded services the Independent
Andrew from massive of cuts to Theatre Arts register For more information on
in their funding. We turn out in large how to get involved
Macbean have already witnessed numbers. Equity will with Equity campaigns,
Vice-Chair several independent even be lobby your MP and local
venues which looking providing Councillors please visit
likely to close this year speakers the Equity website at
Andy Medhurst as a result of the for the
Equity Council Government’s cuts to rally in
Arts Council and Local Hyde
Member Authority funding. Park.
The Committee will be
Morna Burdon attending the TUC These cuts to funding
demonstration taking are deep and will affect
Caron Lyon place in London on 26th all Equity members,
March. This is likely to whether we are working
Deborah be one of the largest in regional theatre,
mobilisations of trade independent arts, the
Charnley union members for BBC, UK film, festivals,
Iain Armstrong
John Plews
Nick Russell Independent Theatre Council Negotiations
Ian Teague
Katherine Probably our biggest achievement in over the two years. This covers
2010 has been to agree an increase companies across the independent
Kavanagh in the minimum wage for the ITC sector including Clod Ensemble,
(Independent Theatre Council) Eastern Angles, Forest Forge, Kali,
Harry Smith Agreement. Approved managers will NTC Touring, Oily Cart, and Y
pay £400 a week for performers Touring. There are many independent
and stage management from April companies who choose not to be
2011. This forms part of a staged members of the ITC. One of our goals
increase from 2009, with an for 2011 is to agree a strategy for
increase to £385 from April 2010, dealing with this, which will not an
representing an increase of 6.66% easy task.

Equity’s Outdoor Touring Guidelines

We have been working on holiday pay, proper breaks, handful of companies

unionising this and full health resisting our approaches, but
sector for over 3 and safety with continued pressure on
years. The result is provision. The venues we hope they will
that for the 2011 adoption of the reconsider in time for
season 14 Guidelines is Summer 2011 season. This
companies have very much a sector tends to employ many
agreed to adopt stepping stone younger drama school
Equity’s Outdoor to companies graduates; we hope that by
Touring Guidelines. progressing to a demonstrating how the Union
These include a full Equity is supporting them, they will
minimum weekly contract and not keep up their subs and
wage of £300, viewed as a become committed lifelong
National Insurance payments, substitute. There are still a members.

This is a very tough sector to make any significant impact. In 2009 Equity Council clarified its
policy on fringe. This policy still stands subject to review pending the publication of HMRC
guidelines on how NMW (National Minimum Wage) relates to the entertainment industry due
later this year. We are fully aware of the polarised and passionate views within both Council
and the membership. During 2010 we have increased visits to the main London fringe venues.
In the main they are very aware of their precarious position given the current law but they say
they find it impossible to pay even NMW given lack of funds. We will continue to keep in close
contact advising new producers of their legal obligations.

Last summer, we launched an initiative to investigate back stage conditions at the Edinburgh
Fringe. Following a relatively low level of response to our questionnaire we are reviewing our
approach in 2011. We are in discussion with the Scottish National Committee plus relevant
Equity staff as to how to proceed.

Theatre In Education Workshop Leaders Role Play

We identified TIE as being our next Having agreed a contract in 2009 we There is a review of this agreement
major investigation using the are working with 3 companies to trial due within the next 3 months. ITAC
techniques we had used in the it. Work in this sector is more free- will liaise with Equity’s Scottish
Outdoor Touring Campaign. New lance throwing up some unique chal- Committee who have surveyed
committee members Andy Medhurst lenges to supporting members en- members in Scotland working in role
and Deborah Charnley are taking the gaged on such basis. . These will play to inform the review. Do contact
lead and at present pulling together a need to be resolved before a full roll us with any queries or concerns in
comprehensive data base of TIE out of the contract can be under- this area.
companies and their current rates taken. ITAC are working closely with
and working conditions. other specialist committees on this.

The Committee believe it important that communication with the ITAC register, branches and other Equity
committees is important. Therefore we have launched this newsletter, which we intend to produce at regular

Two way communications is vital if the committee is to remain aware of the issues and challenges facing
members we represent in the independent sector.

Please contact the committee’s secretary Hannah Packham at with any issues or
questions you may have.