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UK Theatre are holding a Venues Forum: Here’s how to get involved

A series of venues and touring forums are being held around the country this spring, giving theatre workers the perfect chance to have their say.

If you’re sick and tired of always being the last to know when it comes to numbers of dressers or wardrobe staff needed for a show, then this a great opportunity to take part in the discussion.

After last year’s Theatre and Touring Symposium, the relationship between venues and producers and the issues they face were raised.

Occasionally there are miscommunications issues and vital information such as numbers of backstage crew can sometimes be missed off riders or left until the very last minute.

In some circumstances, it could be the fact that the show is new and things rapidly change as the show settles and producers/wardrobe teams figure out they need more help, or sometimes less.

Even in a well-established show, it’s not unknown for plots to be altered and numbers of dressers cut back on- sometimes when a show is mid-tour.

However, this can have quite serious consequences when it comes to employment and dresser availability, as it’s no fun to be booked on a show, only to turn up and you are no longer needed!

The same goes for a show arriving at a venue with the team ready to go, only to find out not enough people have been booked!

It’s annoying for anyone involved and often leaves the Stage Management teams open to unfair criticism and left to pick up the pieces.

Which is why theatre workers across the UK, regardless of what department they work on, have been invited to get their voice heard.

UK Theatre and SOLT (Society of London Theatre) have teamed up to set up forums across the country, allowing workers to share their views.

They encourage everyone taking part to:

“Devise a contemporary, consistent and clear way to make the most of what they have.

Build stronger relationships.

Improve the long term health of the touring, producing and presenting model.”

The assemblies are taking place in Edinburgh on March 6th and Manchester, March 14th from 2pm-4pm on both days.

The aim is to open up an honest discussion about the types of issues both producers and venues are faced with, as well as to introduce the new Producing, Presenting and Touring handbook, which will be released in April.

The handbook will endeavour to smooth out some of the recurring problems both parties come up against, as well as offering a ‘clear’ and ‘consistent’ way of working.

The idea is that this will inform a new way of working between producers and venues and help to clarify any stumbling blocks in the future.

Anyone working within any aspects of these industries are invited to go along to the forum (RSVP is essential), but if you can’t make it, you can still have your say through their online survey.

From there, you can share your thoughts on the new handbook as well as make suggestions on any concerns you may have or want to tackle in the future.

Click here to book your place on one of the upcoming talks or to take part in the survey.

Check out our other tips on working as a freelancer, as well as our guide to being an amazing dresser.

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