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Designers Unite to Support Freelance Theatre Creatives

#scenechange by Vicki Mortimer
#scenechange by Vicki Mortimer

A group of leading Theatre Designers have formed #scenechange – a Community that brings designers together at a moment of great uncertainty for the theatre industry and its creative professionals, to join in the conversation and explore how to navigate a way through this time. It will provide a platform for all theatre set and costume designers, established and emerging, associates and assistants. It also offers a place for freelance creatives from all theatre disciplines to join in dialogue, share experience and tackle the challenges ahead.

Freelance creative artists make up the major part of the theatre ecology – of the 290,000 jobs in the UK Theatre Industry, over two-thirds of those are freelance or self-employed, and it’s vital that their voice is included in the evolution of a new theatrical ecosystem. As visual artists, Designers bring a unique skill set that can help reimagine theatre spaces as the industry navigates its way back to live performance.

#scenechange aims to positively engage with buildings, directors and producers nationwide, to support and inform the process back to production.

The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the already precarious nature of the theatre industry – the freelance workforce being particularly badly impacted. This is a moment to reset the industry. It offers an opportunity to examine the issues that often impede freelance creatives and ensure a stronger and more diverse future for all going forward.

A Designers work is intrinsically linked to and feeds into a wealth of professions, both seen and unseen across any production, with up to 40 areas of industry anchored to and dependent on their ideas. #scenechange will help to be an advocate for workers in these areas to amplify their pivotal roles within the industry.

#scenechange began as a small email exchange ‘Dialogue in Strange Times’ between a group of set & costume designers: Bunny Christie, Lizzie Clachan, Anna Fleischle, Soutra Gilmore, Madeleine Girling, Max Jones, Katrina Lindsay, Vicki Mortimer, Tom Piper, Jemima Robinson, Rajha Shakiry, Rae Smith, Ben Stones, Lily Arnold, Jon Bausor, Ruth Hall, Natasha Jenkins, Simon Kenny, Lucy Osborne and continues to expand. Now it is a wide community of designers covering the breadth of the discipline and growing to over 700 members, promoting ways of coming together in conversation and action in support of theatre.

#scenechange said today, “This is a moment of reset in our industry and we believe the Design community can be an essential part of the transformation that will see theatre buildings being reopened and the ways in which theatre can be reimagined. As shapers of theatrical space through the use of people and place, our work is pivitol in connecting an entire ecosystem within the Theatre Industry. We are ideally positioned to be at the heart of any discussions about how theatre operates in the future.

#scenechange is hosting a number of events within the theatre community to discuss and share experiences on the impact of Covid-19. Taking place via Zoom, these are informal dialogues; and bring people together at a time of increasing isolation. For further details, please go to:

The #scenechange website offers a valuable resource, with a blog from designers across the spectrum, an open forum, information on support and emergency funding for freelancers and artists, as well as providing a community and network at this challenging time.

Twitter: @_scene_change_
Instagram: _scene_change_


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