Equity, Bectu, ALD and SBTD unite for designers

For the first time ever, Equity is joining forces with professional associations and BECTU to create a working group to address the challenges facing theatre designers.

Following Equity’s successful collaboration with Stage Directors UK, which led to the formation of a Directors’ Working Group last year, representatives from the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD), the Society of British Theatre Designers (SBTD) and the two aforementioned unions will come together to evaluate current working terms and conditions for freelance designers.

The move follows previous exchanges of knowledge and resources between the four organisations, who now hope to work together to create clear, fair terms of engagement for freelancers that will in turn help make career paths transparent and promote diversity within the sector.

The group will also look at other issues affecting design workers, including pay, bullying and harassment, and also seek ways to spread understanding and awareness of the profession throughout the wider theatre industry.

Secretary of Equity’s Directors and Designers Committee, Jamie Briers, said the union “welcomes the SBDT and ALD discussions with Equity on a range of issues including pay and conditions for our members working as theatre designers.

“As we have shown through our work with other professional associations in the industry, working collaboratively enables us to broaden the base from which Equity seeks to improve those terms and conditions.”

Honorary secretary of SBTD Fiona Watt said: “For professional associations to be invited to the table with the unions for the first time is very significant.

“The unions have the power, the structure and the influence to represent us in term of negotiations, while we have the knowledge and expertise about what designers are facing in the industry, so a partnership like this is important to maintain.”