It's a tricky time for everyone - we've tried to make things a little easier and gather up some resources on the support available for your finances and mental health, as well as some creative opportunities currently out there.
Please be kind to yourselves in this time and let us know if there's anything we can do to help. You're not alone. Love and solidarity.
Please get in touch if you are aware of any other resources that you think others may find useful at this time.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Five points and useful links from The Writers Guild
1) Join a Union
You can find out about joining WGGB here
2) Value your work
You can find out about the WGGB ‘Free is not an option’ campaign here
Also see their ‘Should I work for free?’ flowcharts here
3) Learn about Copyright
ALCS has produced some helpful resources for writers which you can find here. This includes links to other reputable sites.
The British Copyright Council has also produced a helpful summary here
You can also watch a video of a session WGGB made on ‘Protecting your work from pitching to production’ here
4) Make sure you’re aware of industry minimums and standard terms
You can read all of the minimum terms and pay rates here. Make sure you read the agreements as well as just the pay scales
Also check out the Playwrights Rights card which you can share with directors and producers here
5) Get a contract for everything!
Your union can help advise you about contracts but you can also check out the WGGB Resources page for more advice here
FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR COVID-19
A collated list of funding opportunities to help writers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The RTF/Fleabag Fund is reopen for applications - it will provide one-off £2,500 grants for those struggling financially who have worked in the theatre industry, prioritised by financial need. More information on how to apply here
A scheme set up by Paul Taylor-Mills and the Turbine Theatre to support freelancers in the theatre industry. If you need support, simply email with a few sentences about your situation – grants are given on a discretionary basis. Alternatively, if you can provide support, please donate here.
Information on how to apply for Universal Credit is found below.
Free legal advice.
Some useful information on the government plans to ban evictions of social or private renters. If you cannot pay your rent, you should in the first instance, speak to your landlorad and try to arrange a new payment plan
Writer's Guild Welfare Fund for playwrights facing financial difficulties during the Covid-19 crisis
Find a local foodbank (Trussel Trust website)
The Theatre Helpline is a free, independent and confidential phone and email service that provides support to people working in the theatre industry. Trained staff are available to offer support and signposting on any topic which affects your wellbeing, including: bullying or harassment; physical health; mental health and wellbeing; injury and mobility problems; issues with employment or unemployment; career issues, including professional development and training; retirement and care in later life; debt and financial issues. Phone: 0800 915 4617.
TheatreSupport.info by SOLT and UK Theatre (among others): support and advice for theatre industry, including signposts to funding covering workers and actors impacted by illness
TheatreMeansBusiness.info by SOLT and UK Theatre: a live database of digital learning resources, including workshops and webinars, for all off-stage theatre professionals
Theatre Skillshare Database: Set up by Nic Connaughton, Head of Theatre at the Pleasance, this document includes a tremendous list of theatre professionals who have skills to offer during this time. You can get in contact with them or add your own skills offer here
Facebook group: UK Theatre Industry Coronavirus Support
Slack (instant messaging) group: London Theatre Community
Business Skills training for creative freelancers: Free resources by FEU Training
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
A guide from the government on mental health and wellbeing.
How to access mental health services.
Visit the link above if you need urgent support.
Mental health support for artists
Some useful tips on looking after your mental health during coronavirus. If you need to speak to someone, call them free on 116 123.
Shout is a24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help, text 85258.
How to Fail (recommended podcast) - special episodes tackling the coronavirus:
Mental Health Issues facing the Black Community by Sunshine Behaviourial Health
Article: Coronavirus and your wellbeing by Mind
The Writer's Guild have also compiled a list of mental health resources, click here to access
During this difficult time, there is absolutely no need to feel like you have to be productive, that you have to come out of isolation having written your masterpiece – for those who want to, this can be a quiet period for rest, reflection and re-setting. For those who are keen to get creative, see some opportunities we have found below.
An open call for North East writers to select seven plays and award a commission of £1000 to each of the seven successful writers or theatre artists. Live Theatre will also produce and present these plays as part of their autumn 2021 programme. More info on how to apply here
For writers who've had at least one play professionally produced, Peggy Ramsay offers up to £5k grants to give you time & space to write, e.g. new laptop, money for rent/bills, or to cover what would normally be salary from temping etc. More info here
Are you a woman working in the arts? Join ARCADE for a chat with incredible female leaders including Emma Rice, Jess Thom, Toni-Dee Paul and Esther Richardson, in the pilot of their new online talk series, Up Front. They invite you to recharge your energy in their hour-long talks aimed to support, inspire and embolden you. Including Q&As, all sessions are trans-inclusive and provide a space for women and non-binary folk to have safe and honest conversations. Check them out here
An online membership platform for writers, which includes challenges, retreats and courses - including their popular Couch to 5k Words course. Find out more here
An online resource for emerging playwrights - offering workshops, networking events, blogs and mentoring. Another spot to be welcomed into a community of emerging playwrights, check out more here.
Free (but donation encouraged) script surgeries, on the last Wednesday of each month. Names are drawn at random each month. Apply here
WAP Writers Network is a fast growing community of writers with a passion for theatre. As a supportive and mutually nurturing network, its purpose is to pass on details any opportunities, offers, competitions and festivals in the world of writing. And the network are the first to hear about WAP’s shows and events, with special offers thrown in. More info here
Run weekly by the fantastic Linda Bloomfield, #OpportunityTuesdays are 10 compiled paid/subsidised industry opportunities.
HighTide have introduced The Lighthouse Programme, offering a diverse range of support to writers during this time – check out the Script Reading Service, Playwright Crisis Support Programme, Write That Play, 40 Plays/40 Nights and the Cancellation Catalogue.
BBC Writer's Room's live database of writing opportunities
Papatango champion the next generation of brilliant playwrights, especially those who might otherwise lack pathways into theatre. Their opportunities are free, open to anyone, and anonymously assessed. Their biggest opportunity is their yearly Writing Prize, seeing the chosen plays receive a commissioning fee, publication by Nick Hern Books, and opportunities for production. Sign up to their mailing list here
ArtsAdmin E-Digest - Sign up for regular emails from ArtsAdmin with listings of opportunities, funding, jobs and events.
Free digital advisory sessions for artists from Artsadmin.
Create to Connect creative challenges by 64 Million Artists.
Resources for writing plays for younger audiences by Theatre Centre
How to support Black Lives in the UK: A fantastic resource document collated by @perkin_amalaraj on Twitter
UK Actions and Resources: A comprehensive collection of petitions, fundraisers, organisations, readings, and protest guides, put together by @Divya_M_P on Twitter
Black Lives Matter Carrd: Ways you can support the movement in the USA, including donations
Change.org: Justice for George Floyd
Change.org: Justice for Tony McDade
Change.org: More protection for Black trans women in the UK
Change.org: Justice for Shukri Abdi
Change.org: Suspension of UK exports of riot gear to the USA
BlackLivesMatter.carrd - a huge collection of petitions for individuals' justice
UK Donation Pages:
GoFundMe: BAME Covid-19 bereavement fund
GoFundMe: Black Protest Legal Support UK
GoFundMe: Black Minds Matter UK
GoFundMe: Belly Mujinga fund
GoFundMe: Jennie Sablayan fund
GoFundMe: Trevor Belle fund
USA Donation Pages:
BlackLivesMatter.carrd - a donation page for fundraisers accepting international donations, including a collection of bail funds across all 50 states for protestors
Consider sourcing texts from Black-owned bookshops - you can find a list here
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
It's Not About the Burqa by Mariam Khan
Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coats
Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Anglou
The Colour Purple by Alice Walker
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale
Reading Towards Abolition: A Reading List on Policing, Rebellion and the Criminalisation of Blackness
When They See Us
Queen and Slim
Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
More Than a Month
Slavery By Another Name
I Am Not Your Negro
The Kalief Browder Story
Black Britain on Film
12 Years a Slave
Strong I Stand
Dear White People
POD Save the People
How to be an Antiracist
You're Pretty For A...