Theatr Clwyd announces the first five participants of their new Open Book scheme for freelancers. The scheme gives theatre freelancers a paid opportunity to get behind-the-scenes and gain vital insight into the processes, strategy, management, and decision-making of a major arts organisation.
The paid professional development opportunity enables each freelancer to spend 15 days with the theatre, shadowing Executive Director, Liam Evans-Ford, and getting time with the full senior leadership team – from production and producing, to fundraising and communications. Participants attend board, funding, production, programming and senior management meetings as well as spending time with each department, including joining production teams during tech week, participating in Creative Engagement workshops, and attending site visits of the ongoing capital redevelopment project with the Operations team. Participants decide when and how the 15 days are completed to accommodate the challenging and ever-changing freelance schedule.
Liam Evans-Ford, Executive Director said: As with most theatre makers, the majority of my career has been spent as a freelancer, and so I’m well aware of how little I knew about the running of theatres until I started producing and working ‘on the inside’. This is a scheme that aims to respond, in a meaningful way, to the lack of insight, understanding and agency that freelancers have as to the running of our major arts institutions. It is developed by a freelancer, with the feedback and ideas from others, and shaped for each individual involved in the scheme. Our job at Theatr Clwyd is simply to be open.
The scheme was launched in response to workshops for freelancers run by Theatr Clwyd during the pandemic. Peter Mooney, an actor-musician who has performed in Theatr Clwyd’s Rock ‘n’ Roll panto, reached out to Liam after hearing him speak about the theatre’s finances in one of these sessions. Funding from Arts Council England’s Developing Creative Practice Fund allowed Peter to spend 30 days shadowing Liam and the wider team.
Peter Mooney said: Working with Liam and the team, I wasn’t just allowed to ask all the questions I could possibly think of – I was encouraged. I dived into everything – from Theatr Clwyd’s programming strategies, to their multitude of community-focused projects, to how they’ll fund the ambitious capital redevelopment of their new building. To have my freelancer’s curiosity embraced in this way was a hugely empowering experience. After 2 years of lockdown, it was obvious how enormously beneficial this scheme would be to our wider, brilliant freelance community. So here we are!
Open Book is a product of that experience. Peter spent the latter half of his time writing an Arts Council Wales application for the next chapter of Open Book, opening up the opportunity to more freelancers. Peter is now the project co-ordinator for the scheme.
Next to partake in the scheme will be: Alexander Mushore (Actor / Writer / Producer), Krystal Lowe (Dancer / Choreographer / Writer / Director / Producer), Sara Hartel (Director / Facilitator / Game Theatre Developer), Jeremy Linnell (Bouffon Clown / Writer / Game Theatre Developer) and Sophie Warren (Actor / Writer).