Introducing the writers behind COME TO WHERE I AM Series 7: Cumbria

Theatre by the Lake. Photo by Cactus Creative.

COME TO WHERE I AM – Series 7: Cumbria, is in partnership with Theatre by the Lake, who are based in Cumbria. Theatre by the Lake has brought the magic of theatre and the excitement of the imagination to one of Britain’s loveliest and remotest counties. The theatre, hailed by The Independent as “the most beautifully located and friendly theatre in Britain”, opened in 1999. It is set a short stroll from Derwentwater on the edge of Keswick, amid the magnificent western fells of the Lake District. COME TO WHERE I AM Series 7 will be available to watch on our YouTube Channel from 7pm on Wednesday 01 July. We caught up with the writers this week and here’s what they had to say:

Daneka Etchells

Please could you introduce yourself in a couple of sentences?
I’m Daneka Etchells, I am an actor and writer and I am absolutely delighted to be part of this project about my home county! As an actor, I’ve worked with the Royal National Theatre, Northern Stage, Theatre by the Lake, CAST Doncaster, Northern Broadsides, The Customs House and most recently on feature film, set in the Lakes, Supernova due for release later this year. I’ve only recently came to playwriting, and this is my first professional play commission.

Where in Cumbria are you from?
I am from Carlisle. I spent my childhood splitting my time between Carlisle and Caldbeck where my grandparents lived. 

Could you tell me a bit about your writing journey?
I’ve always loved stories. As a child I was obsessed with books and writing (still am!). However, my acting career took precedence for a while while I focussed on drama school and the first few years of working, before I came full circle back to writing alongside my career. As a teenager, I won the Young Film Critic of the Year award in association with BAFTA and had poetry published in national and international poetry magazines. I’ve written two one-act plays which are currently under development, and I’m attempting to collate lots of my poetry together into a collection.

What encouraged you to enter a submission for Come To Where I Am/ what attracted you this project?
Working in the arts, stories about my home are very, very few and far between. I’m extremely proud to be Cumbrian and champion it whenever I can. I’m determined to ensure that my county is put properly on the map and has its identity heard. Plus, I’ve never heard of a play/tv show/film in my entire life set in Carlisle!

Could you tell us a bit about the process?
We had to submit three drafts before filming the final reading, and on each draft we were given feedback from our designated dramaturg – mine was Charlotte Bennett, the co-AD of Paines Plough who’s been so supportive of the piece and its evolution. I spent a lot of time researching what exactly I wanted to write about. I did a lot of writing streams of consciousness, spending time looking through photos, and looking at what memories made up home for me. I also asked my family to mind-map their thoughts on Carlisle which was super useful, and we talked together about how we felt about the city. I then linked up my own thoughts, other thoughts, facts and its history and came up with the narrative I wrote.

What advice or tips do you have for other aspiring writers?
A great way in is to write about what you know and what inspires you. It’s not hard to talk about what you’re passionate about; so instead of saying the words out loud, speak them to your keyboard or your pen instead. Don’t be too harsh on yourself either, treat yourself with kindness and love. The process is gruelling but extremely rewarding; and your voice deserves to be heard. This comes easier to some more than others, I myself am dyslexic, but the same things that can be challenging, are also a gift. Discover what works for you, everyone’s processes are completely unique, as *you* are. Have those conversations with people on the train, ask people about their lives, watch anything you can, people watch… And read read READ. 

Imogen Barnfather

Please could you introduce yourself ?
My name is Imogen Barnfather, I live in Cockermouth.

Could you tell me a bit about your writing journey?
I began writing at seventeen, forming ‘Wyldwood Theatre Company’ with friends. Over three years we produced six plays, and it was a beautiful adventure. Somewhere along the way, I realised I was entirely addicted to sewing costumes at ridiculous hours of the morning and wholly in love with the process of watching my writing grow into theatre. I couldn’t imagine living my life any other way, so I decided to start a new journey and made steps towards founding a travelling theatre company; ‘Wayfarers Theatre’. So far this hasn’t exactly gone to plan, with some impressive hiccups cropping up along the way, but I am by no means deterred, and I eagerly await the day I can officially get things off the ground.

What encouraged you to enter a submission for Come To Where I Am/ what attracted you this project?
Recently I have had a rather hefty dose of writer’s block, so I was quite surprised when I found myself tapping away at my submission for ‘Come to Where I am’. I was inspired by the idea of writing about the place I call home; I grew up in the Embleton Valley and I can’t imagine living anywhere very far from the North Lakes. (I’ve also always been rather in awe of Theatre by the Lake, so the idea of sending them a submission was very appealing). My piece is inspired by a very moving encounter I had while working in a Keswick café, ‘Daisy’ has already made her way into the first draft of a script but this project has been an opportunity to present a more in-depth exploration of the event.

What advice or tips do you have for other aspiring writers?
If I have any advice for other aspiring writers, particularly those who are struggling to put pen to paper, it’s to not give up. Even if you’re feeling uninspired, or life just keeps getting in the way, think of if it as space to think, to breath. You never know when you might stumble upon something that sparks a new idea or rekindles an old one. The most important thing is at no point should you stop considering yourself to be a writer!

Matt Sowerby

Please could you introduce yourself in a couple of sentences?
Hi! I’m Matt. I’m a writer (mostly a poet) from Cumbria, sometimes living in Birmingham. I also do odd bits of activism. I’m 19 years old. 

Where in Cumbria are you from?
I’m from Kirkby Lonsdale, but my family have farmed around Crooklands for generations.

Could you tell me a bit about your writing journey?
I spent a long time failing to write novels, then changed to failing to write poems. Eventually I started failing a little less. I managed to perform in Parliament, write a play, do a TEDx Talk and win the National Youth Slam Championships in 2018, as well as (somehow) passing my A Levels last year. Today I’m studying at the University of Birmingham.

What encouraged you to enter a submission for Come To Where I Am/ what attracted you this project?Leaving Cumbria for University really got me thinking about my relationship to the area I grew up.  I thought the project would be a great way to explore my relationship TO the physical and political landscape from which I grew, and the people who made me who I am.

Could you tell us a bit about the process?
The process was really rewarding because I got to find out lots about my family farm and my grandparent’s story.  I asked them to give me a tour of the farm, telling me the memories they had of the different buildings. Having these conversations, recording their voices and listening to them was very eye opening.

What advice or tips do you have for other aspiring writers?
Introduce yourself as a writer. Put the work in. Put work out. Play nice.

Nina Berry

Please could you introduce yourself in a couple of sentences?
Hi, I’m Nina, I’m 27 and I’m a writer from Cumbria. I have a passion for physics which plays a large part in inspiring the stories I chose to write and I’m also really interested in exploring the relationships between people and place.

Where in Cumbria are you from?
I grew up in Dubwath near Bassenthwaite Lake but I currently live in Blindcrake.

Could you tell me a bit about your writing journey?
Alongside studying for my degree in English Literature and Creative Writing at Northumbria University I worked front of house at Live Theatre in Newcastle which very quickly became like a second home to me. I’d always loved theatre and grew up watching plays at Theatre by the Lake (which, growing up in such a rural place I was very lucky to have access to) but at that point it never even occurred to me that you could write for a living. There was something about working at Live, the people, the place, the stories that unfolded on stage, there were no rules to it, theatre could do, be or say anything, the possibilities were endless and the whole experience of it really got under my skin. I started blogging for the theatre and I signed up for their Introduction to Playwriting Course. From there I started writing comedy sketches for Mixtape Theatre and short plays for Live. It was around the time that I graduated that Graeme Thompson became Creative Producer and their Live Lab program launched featuring further opportunities for emerging local writers, actors and directors. Graeme and the rest of the creative team were enormously encouraging of me which really helped with my confidence and gave me the courage to stay in Newcastle and keep writing. In 2016 I became an associate artist of the theatre which led to my first full length commission. The play ​The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes ​ is a quantum love story about growing up and finding a singularity among infinity. Graeme and Max Roberts, Artists Director at that time had championed the idea from its inception and I worked closely with Graeme as dramaturg and director of the play. As an emerging artist it’s so important to find people who believe in you and the stories you want to tell so I was incredibly lucky to find that so early in my career. The play returned in 2017 following a sold out run and a five star Guardian review and led to me signing with Independent Talent. Since then I’ve been a resident writer in Oxford and Denmark and I’m currently adapting​ The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes ​ to screen with support from the BFI Network and Lunar Lander Productions as well as working on another commission for Live.

What encouraged you to enter a submission for Come To Where I Am/ what attracted you this project?
Writing for Theatre by the Lake and Paines Plough have been part of my ambitions since I first began writing, they’ve both played a huge part in inspiring my journey as a writer so it was brilliant to see a collaboration between the two of them. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always had a fascination with the relationship between people and place so naturally it was a project I gravitated towards. It was also amazing to see how theatre’s have adapted so quickly to the world we’re currently living in and the outreach program alongside the CTWIA project was something that I felt really passionately
about, it’s a way to keep theatre live, intimate and most importantly provide culture for those who are digitally isolated and unable to access theatre online.

Could you tell us a bit about the process?
I tend to free-write first thing in the morning, sometimes it’s related to a project, theme or idea, sometimes it’s just whatever’s going on in my head or in my eyeline and at the time of being commissioned I’d already found myself writing about my immediate surroundings and close proximity with nature. I then started writing the outlines of memories I have of growing up which are punctuated by the landscape and combined them with a picture of my physical surroundings of home in the present in Blindcrake. I have a natural tendency to view certain human situations through a scientific lens which I owe to my dad and that’s where the overriding themes of chemistry and creation came from. I’d say the piece is an amalgamation of real life experience, emotion and fiction condensed into a short period of time. I’m also lucky to have been in lockdown with my brother Jack who is an aspiring director and filmmaker so credit for the recording and editing process goes straight to him!

What advice or tips do you have for other aspiring writers?
Write the stories that only you can write. Most writers want their work to be universal and appeal to the majority, that’s natural but sometimes I think it’s only by being so specific that you can achieve universality. I think writing, acting or directing, any creative process really, requires a certain amount of vulnerability which can be terrifying even at the best of times but there’s also strength and a power in allowing yourself to be vulnerable. The short winded version of that would be FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY. Collaborate and share your writing with the people you trust the most because they are almost always the people who will keep on believing in you even when you don’t believe in yourself.

COME TO WHERE I AM – SERIES 7: CUMBRIA will be available on our YouTube channel from Wednesday 01 July 2020, 7:00pm

Introducing the writers behind COME TO WHERE I AM Series 6: Derby

COME TO WHERE I AM: Series 6: Dery is in partnership with Derby Theatre.

‘Derby Theatre…increasingly the most crucial theatre in the region because of its emphasis on learning, nurturing and nourishing.’ Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

Derby Theatre is reimagining what a regional producing theatre can be. Through its unique relationship with the University of Derby, the theatre has placed learning, mentoring and artistic excellence as its heart, bringing together creative professionals with diverse audiences, to tell compelling stories.


Jane Upton

Jane Upton’s plays include FINDING NANA (Pleasance Edinburgh Festival, 2017 and UK tour 2018, directed by Katie Posner, New Perspectives), ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS  (Fifth Word, UK tour, Arcola Theatre autumn 2017), WATCHING THE LIVING – an adaptation of two short stories by Daphne Du Maurier (New Perspectives, UK tour), SWIMMING (Menagerie Theatre, Hotbed Festival, Soho Theatre and Edinburgh Festival), and BONES (Fifth Word, Edinburgh Festival and UK tour). Jane is currently writing a new play for Nottingham Playhouse.

ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS was nominated Best Play for the 2019 OFFIES and for the 2017 Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards; it was joint winner of the 2016 George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright.  The play is published by Nick Hern Books. Jane attended Stephen Jeffreys’ Advances in Scriptwriting RADA, received a bursary from the Peggy Ramsay Foundation and was
shortlisted for CBBC New Voices Initiative.

Jane Wainwright

Jane is a writer for theatre, television and radio. Her newest radio play, THE LIFE CYCLE OF OSPREYS, debuted in May 2020 on BBC Radio 4. Her first radio play, WIDE OPEN SPACES (BBC Radio 4), was shortlisted for the Mind Media Awards and Imison Award. Other radio includes LOVETRAIN (Pilot for BBC Radio North).

Theatre includes JINNY (Derby Theatre), HOW I SKINNED MY SISTER, LEFTOVERS and CONCRETE SUPERNOVA (Soho Theatre, Rich Mix, Bush Theatre, and Milano Teen Writing Festival, Milan), BARROW HILL (published by Oberon Books), INWORLD (Finborough Theatre), PHOTOS OF YOU SLEEPING (Runner up for the Papatango Prize), A BITE OF THE APPLE (TBG Theatre, New York City), A GUIDE TO REMOVING CORPSE STAINS (Company of Angels at Theatre Royal York), PINOCCHIO GETS LAID OR THE TASTE OF US (HighTide Festival) and PET’S CORNER (Miniaturists at the Arcola Theatre). 

A member of the Channel 4 Screenwriting course, she is currently developing a new television series with CBBC, and currently writes for the award-winning HOLLYOAKS (Channel Four).

John Booker

John Booker is an actor and writer trained at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. John is currently developing his play’s OLD COKE and WHISKY, EGGS & LEMONADE. As an actor, John performed in WONDERLAND at Nottingham Playhouse directed by Adam Penford and featured in the film THE TIDE directed by Harjinder Grewal.

Simon Marshall

Simon Marshall is a Derbyshire-based playwright, poet, facilitator and producer. His writing focusses on rural communities, LGBTQ individuals & his work with care-experienced people. He is a New Associate of New Perspectives and regularly works in participation for Déda and Derby Theatre.

He is developing his play BONFIRE, on the rural queer experience online, with support from ACE & In Good Company. He is currently writing a new play KILLBURN (NOT LONDON) on the relationships of young people in care. 

Recent work includes ISLAND NATION at the Space, London with Little Pieces of Gold, and SPECIMEN for Theatre503.

COME TO WHERE I AM Series 6: Derby will be available on our YouTube channel from Wednesday 24 June

Introducing the writers behind COME TO WHERE I AM Series 5: Reading

Come To Where I Am – Series 5: Reading, is in partnership with Reading Rep. Reading’s resident professional theatre combines high-class productions with ground-breaking education and community engagement to help transform Reading and the surrounding area’s cultural landscape. Produces diverse new voices on the stage. Working with new directors, new playwrights and new
practitioners, we present plays from classics to new writing, revivals to musicals; producing outstanding productions of world class plays for the widest possible audience.


Sam Butler

Sam was born in Denbigh in North Wales but did most of her growing up in Reading surrounded by her 6 siblings and the many foster siblings they shared their home with. She is a writer and an artist and a mother.

She has been co-artistic director of Fevered Sleep since graduating in 1996. Fevered Sleep works across artforms making performance, installation, books, films and digital art. They work in galleries, theatres, cinemas, schools and other community sites; as well as online, in people’s homes, or on their phones. They try to open up new spaces to enable as many people as possible to engage with them. Their practice invites all sorts of people, to come together and explore thought provoking, challenging and experimental ideas. Their mission in everything they make and do is to try to make the world a more caring, curious and compassionate place. Sam has many years’ experience of leading workshops with adults and with children, mentoring artists and companies and teaching both in the UK and internationally including Banff: Centre for the Arts and Creativity (Canada), Skånes Dansteater (Sweden), Young Vic Theatre (UK), Beijing People’s Arts Theatre (China), Taipei International Children’s Festival (Taiwan), Dansehallerne (Denmark).

Adrian Tang

Adrian is a Berkshire-based theatre maker.  He is the Artistic Director of Exit Pursued By Panda, a theatre company promoting the interests of East Asian writers, directors, actors and other creatives.  In 2019, he directed and co-produced TULIPS by Michael Beakhouse, a touring show about male domestic abuse supported by the Arts Council and ManKind Initiative.  In February 2020 he directed UNBURIED as part of the Takeover Festival produced by The Upsetters at the Bunker Theatre.

Ali Taylor

Ali is a playwright and teacher. His plays include: CATHY (Cardboard Citizens, UK tour/Edinburgh/Soho Theatre), CONSPIRACY (RWCMD, Gate Theatre), UNDER MY SKIN (Pegasus Theatre, tour), FAULT LINES (Hampstead Theatre), STICKS & STONES (Polka Theatre), A LITTLE NECK (Goat & Monkey), COTTON WOOL (Theatre503, Berliner Festspiele) for which he won the 18th Meyer-Whitworth Award, OVERSPILL (Churchill Theatre Bromley/Soho Theatre) and THE MACHINE GUNNERS (Polka Theatre).

Radio plays include EIGHT FEET HIGH AND RISING and CINDERS for Radio 4’s Afternoon Play.

Camille Ucan

Camille is a writer, comedy performer and actress from Reading, who recently starred in Sky One’s CINDERELLA: AFTER EVER AFTER alongside Celia Imrie and Sian Gibson. She also played the leading role of Nikki in both series of critically lauded improvised sitcom, LEE AND DEAN for Channel 4.

Camille recently hosted the CBBC show A WEEK TO BEAT THE WORLD and has also been seen in ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, BBC1’s comedy drama TRUCKERS, Matt Lucas’ silent comedy POMPIDOU AND GITTINS for C4, to highlight some of her favourites.

Camille is one third of comedy sketch group Birthday Girls, whose podcast BIRTHDAY GIRLS HOUSE PARTY was nominated for best comedy at the British Podcast Awards in 2019.

Camille writes for various children’s TV shows including Children’s BAFTA nominated sketch show GIGGLEBIZ, THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE, and SCRAMBLED! for CITV, to name a few.

Her theatre credits include OUTINGS, (a collection of monologues about coming out), and an adaptation of Gogol’s MARRIAGE, both among a comedic ensemble cast and whose productions first started at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with OUTINGS culminating in a UK wide tour.

She is currently living in London and developing various TV, film and theatre scripts.

COME TO WHERE I AM – SERIES 5: Reading will be available on our YouTube channel from Wednesday 17 June 2020, 7:00pm

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PP’s Freelance Task Force Representative: Keiren Hamilton-Amos

We are delighted that Keiren will be joining PP as part of the #FreelanceTaskForce.

Keiren is a Birmingham Native, born and raised in Newtown. He is an Actor/Movement Director and one piece of the International acclaimed Strictly Arts theatre company.  He is Former Artistic Lead of Lightpost Theatre company, a company dedicated to Young black men and Mental health. A writer, a director, Facilitator and all-round creative.

About the Freelance Task Force:

As of Friday 22 May 2020, Paines Plough is working with more than 100 arts organisations and venues to create a Freelance Task Force. If you missed it, you can read the Open Letter to Theatre and Performance Makers here.

As signatories of this letter, Paines Plough committed to engaging a freelancer for one day a week throughout June, July and August  (13 weeks) to be part of the Freelance Task Force.

Aims of the Task Force

The aim of the task force is to strengthen the influence of the self-employed theatre and performance community. It will create ongoing points of connection between freelancers, organisations, funders and government and amplify the voice of the self-employed in the conversations to come about how we manage the response to and recovery from the Covid 19 crisis in the performing arts sector.

Welcome Keiren!

Are you an emerging theatre company, producer or artist committed to touring your work nation-wide?

Paines Plough is working in collaboration with a wider network of established touring companies including China Plate, English Touring Theatre (ETT), Fuel, Graeae, Kneehigh, MAYK, Out of Joint, Tiata Fahodzi, Wise Children and Yellow Earth to share knowledge and experience with emerging companies, producers and artists committed to touring, and to then introduce them to Paines Plough’s Small Scale Touring Network (SSTN) across the UK.

Paines Plough set up a Small Scale Touring Network in 2018 – a network of 30+ venues across the UK to which we tour a production every year. In 2018 we toured Anna Jordan’s POP MUSIC, and in 2019 we took Zia Ahmed’s I WANNA BE YOURS on tour cross-country.

This project aims to strengthen and broaden connections between touring companies and small scale venues. It will also form the beginning of a conversation between established and emerging touring companies from which we all hope to learn from you what better support we can provide over the coming months / year.

How it will work:

STAGE ONE: On Friday 19 June 2pm – 3.30pm:

Paines Plough and ETT will co-facilitate a Zoom session sharing some of the useful discussions they have been having with the NPO touring network and hear from emerging companies. This will form the basis of the discussion the following week.

STAGE TWO: Wednesday 24 June 3pm – 4.30pm:

We will then invite attendees to join a Zoom with representatives from established touring companies, where we will facilitate breakout rooms for discussion around more specific topics on the future of touring theatre.

STAGE THREE: Attendees will then be able to share details, plans and work with Paines Plough’s network of 30+ small-scale venues across the UK.  

If this all sounds up your street, then please fill out this form.

Deadline for sign-ups is 10am on Monday 15 June.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

Introducing the writers behind COME TO WHERE I AM Series 4: Peterborough

COME TO WHERE I AM – Series 4: Peterborough, is in partnership with Eastern Angles Theatre Company, who are based in Ipswich and Peterborough. Their mission is to provide high quality theatre, maintain and promote regional identity, tour to theatre, non-theatre and community venues, and to develop and produce new and original work. COME TO WHERE I AM Series 4 will be available to watch on our YouTube Channel from 7pm on Wednesday 10 June. The writers are:

Aisha Zia
Aisha Zia is an award-winning playwright from Peterborough, former resident artist at Somerset House Studios in London and Theatre 503’s 503Five alumni. She has toured site- specific plays across the UK having had huge success with her plays NO GUTS, NO HEART, NO GLORY (Winner of Scotsman Fringe First Award, shortlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Awards) and OUR GLASS HOUSE (Winner of the Special Commendation from Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Awards) with Common Wealth. Aisha’s work engages young and diverse participants across the UK. Her work is dedicated to non-theatre audiences and has a strong proven track record of working in communities to deliver high-quality artistic work, using her unique approach to testimonial theatre. She is interested in real people and real stories that impact our lives today. Her work with Good Chance Theatre led her to set up a new art gallery and social platform in Peterborough, 62 Gladstone Street, showcasing the work of British Muslim artists to explore the themes of a new piece of work she will be presenting at the HighTide Festival in 2021. Currently under commission from Contact Theatre in Manchester, Aisha is also developing new work with Fuel in London and Ripe Time in New York. As well as conceiving original ideas for theatre, film and TV, Aisha also works as a freelance photo editor for the Financial Times and the New Statesman, having previously worked for The Independent and Reuters.

Phil Ormrod
Phil is a playwright and screenwriter. He originally trained as a director at LAMDA and the NT Studio, before working at Northern Stage on an RTYDS Bursary. Theatre credits include ISAAC CAME HOME FROM THE MOUNTAIN (Theatre 503), EXILES (Alpine Fellowship), LUCY AND THE HAWK (Northern Stage/Ovalhouse) and MARY WHITEHOUSE LOOKS DOWN FROM WHEREVER (CPT). He is currently developing an original series with STV.

Clare  Currie
Peterborough Poet Laureate 2017-19, Clare Currie is an associate artist of Jumped Up Theatre and a founding member of Syntax Poetry Festival. Clare’s work ranges from writing for and performing at events to facilitating workshops and writing for the stage. She was writer-in-residence at Metal Southend, performing there as part of the Essex Book Festival. She has been a judge in the poetry section of the Young Muslim Writers Awards and has performed alongside artists such as Ross Sutherland and Carmina Masoliver. Clare has worked on a number of theatre projects, including pieces for Eastern Angles and Jumped Up Theatre, in collaboration with Battersea Arts, and was awarded Arts Council funding to develop her creative practice, developing a solo theatre piece, COLD SNAP, which was previewed at Cambridge Junction. Clare’s writing has been described as image-packed and lyrical and often centres on the visceral nature of being embodied as a female.

Marianne Habeshaw
Marianne Habeshaw is a Teaching Assistant and Poet/Playwright from Hackney (London) and is originally from Peterborough. Marianne’s poem REFUSING TEA is published on the LADA SOMETHING OTHER website. Marianne wrote the play SNOWFLAKES IN THE SLOWCOOKER with ‘Eastern Angles Young Writers’ group in June 2019.

COME TO WHERE I AM – SERIES 4: PETERBOROUGH will be available on our YouTube channel from Wednesday 3 June 2020, 7:00pm

Freelance Task Force – Open Call

Freelance Task Force – Open Call

As of Friday 22 May 2020, Paines Plough is working with more than 100 arts organisations and venues to create a Freelance Task Force. If you missed it, you can read the Open Letter to Theatre and Performance Makers here.

The letter has 3 main aims:

  •  To listen and respond to the needs of freelancers in the performing arts
  • To call for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme to be extended in line with furloughing
  • To establish of Task Force of self-employed theatre and performance makers

As signatories of this letter, Paines Plough has committed to engaging a freelancer for one day a week throughout June, July and August  (13 weeks) to be part of the Freelance Task Force.

As a national company, Paines Plough believe that geographical reach is imperative in ensuring a Taskforce that is representative of the nation. We will therefore ensure that we respond to the regions that are less well-represented across the Taskforce once the first set of freelancers had been appointed.

With this in mind we are now putting out an open call for a freelancer currently based in EAST YORKSHIRE, WEST MIDLANDS, EAST ANGLIA or THE NORTH-EAST.

Aims of the Task Force

The aim of the task force is to strengthen the influence of the self-employed theatre and performance community. It will create ongoing points of connection between freelancers, organisations, funders and government and amplify the voice of the self-employed in the conversations to come about how we manage the response to and recovery from the Covid 19 crisis in the performing arts sector.

The Task Force Member’s Role

It is up to the Task Force to establish its own structure as to how it fulfils these aims.

We imagine that the task force will quickly establish its own agenda, set its own mission and organise itself, however, in sponsoring a freelancer the signatories hope each member will work together with the wider Task Force to:

  •        Co-ordinate wider conversations with freelancers in their area and/or specialism
  •        Hold and participate in regular task force meetings
  •        Attend meetings and events on behalf of the task force
  •        Lobby on behalf of the wider freelance community
  •        Ensure that information is widely distributed across the different freelance disciplines
  •        Relationship to Sponsor Organisation

Task Force Members are not expected to represent their Sponsor Organisation or speak on their behalf, nor are they expected to undertake any other duties, on behalf of their Sponsor Organisation.

Task Force Members will operate at arms-length, responsible to the freelance community that they are part of.

It is hoped that each Task Force Member will use this opportunity to inform and influence their Sponsor Organisation. How this is achieved will vary from relationship to relationship.

It is expected that the Task Force Members will work in line with their Sponsor Organisation’s policies, including Equal Opportunities, Dignity at Work, Safe Guarding and Health & Safety. 


Each Task Force Member will be paid for 13 days work i.e. one day a week throughout June, July and August at a rate that reflects the Sponsor Organisation’s typical daily freelance rate.

For Paines Plough this is £120 per day, £1560 in total.

Task Force Members may choose to role share, in dialogue with their Sponsor Organisation.


It is not expected that further expenses will be incurred

Application Process

The deadline for recruitment has now been extended by Fuel Theatre to enable organisations to extend their searches wider and deeper, coordinate more effectively, and to enable freelancers more time to apply, given the time and energy being dedicated by many to vital anti-racist action. Thank you to the freelancers who proposed this: we listen and learn from you, as we will listen and learn from the #FreelanceTaskForce in the weeks to come.

In order to apply, please fill out this form.

Deadline for applications is 2pm on Tuesday 9 June.

We will be meeting people on Wednesday 10 June.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Team PP