Christine Payne: Make your voice heard

If you care about your fellow members, if you care about your profession and if you care about your union there is no better time to show it.

Following on from the Agenda for Change report, we have launched our Safe Spaces campaign. We have prepared a statement that we want you to read out at the beginning of every new rehearsal period, read-through, workshop or project. A postcard with the statement is enclosed with this magazine. We also have a poster that we want you to put up in places where our members are auditioning or working – whether this is a theatre, studio, club, circus etc. Both the postcard and the poster carry the contact details for our Harassment Helpline and there is a member of staff on the end of both the email and telephone during the day. Out of office hours, messages can be left and will be responded to as soon as possible, but no later than the end of the next working day. In creating this new post we address the bullying and mental health concerns of members as well as harassment issues. This role will build on the ArtsMinds, Agenda for Change and Creating Safe Spaces campaigns.
We have a massive challenge to change the culture of our industries in respect of bullying and harassment and create a fairer, safer and equal workplace. We have to try, not just for ourselves but for the generations of members following us.

By the time you get this magazine the nominations for our elections will have closed. Voting papers are being prepared and in the next few weeks the ballot period will open and you will have the chance to vote for your President, Council, Appeals and Standing Orders Committees. If you are not a candidate please find time to VOTE. Show your commitment and support for those members who are willing to give up their time – while, like you, looking for work – to shape the policy of the union and to try and make things better. We are celebrating 100 years since women first got the right to vote, to choose, to be equal. In these elections show that the fight was worth it – VOTE.
Malcolm Sinclair has been your President for the past eight years and he will not be standing again. In his last column (see page 26), he says he is proud of what the union has achieved during his tenure – and he has every right to say that. He has been a magnificent President, working diligently to combine his duty and responsibilities as President with a successful career. He truly cares about the future of the union and the working lives of our members and he truly believes that the strength and power of the professional working people we represent is achieved by those professionals joining, supporting and getting involved in Equity. He is passionate about equality and diversity and the creation of a full-time equality and diversity organiser post was unconditionally supported by Malcolm. He was inspired to join the Council and to stand for President by Miriam Karlin who herself gave so much to the union on committees, working parties, Council and was awarded Honorary Life Membership for her service to her fellow members.

I know Miriam would feel her trust and confidence in Malcolm was justified. I have really enjoyed working with Malcolm. I will miss him very much and I wish him and his husband Moe every happiness and success in the years ahead.
Now it is time for him to pass on the baton to a new President and a new generation of members. Members who like Obioma (page 8) will ensure we have an Equity deputy on all shows, like Helen (page 14) who found the strength to speak out and like the brilliant team of members and staff, led by vice president Maureen Beattie, who worked together to create our Agenda for Change.