- MAJOR RESEARCH ON THE WORKFORCE NEEDS OF THEATRE AND THE PERFORMING ARTS PUBLISHED TODAY
- INDUSTRY CONSORTIUM GROUP TO BE FORMED
- SEED INVESTMENT FROM THE THEATRE DEVELOPMENT TRUST
The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre have today published research they jointly commissioned, on behalf of the sector, to assess the current and future needs of the UK’s world-leading theatre and performing arts sector workforce.
The UK’s creative industries, including theatre and the performing arts, are growing at almost twice the rate of the wider UK economy, and are worth £84.1 billion a year. Government statistics show there are now 1.9 million jobs across the creative industries.
As our workforce continues to grow, and the demands of off-stage roles continue to change, this research will allow SOLT and UK Theatre to work with our industry, including employers, sector bodies, skills providers and government, to invest in our workforce to ensure the long-term health of our sector.
SOLT and UK Theatre commissioned Nordicity and Alistair Smith, editor of The Stage, to undertake the research. The research included a survey of workers and employers, focus groups and interviews with key figures from across the sector.
Challenges identified in the research include:
- a workforce that is passionate and engaged, but struggling with issues of low pay and a lack of investment in skills development, particularly with freelance contracts.
- an organisational culture that must become more open to talent and skills from new areas, to long-term commitment to professional development and to flexible working practices.
- a workforce that is currently unrepresentative of the public, with low numbers of people from black, ethnic and minority backgrounds and very low numbers of disabled people.
- Shortage of skilled technical workers (including in lighting and automation) and senior managers (especially outside London), and in areas such as marketing and finance.
SOLT and UK Theatre will now establish a consortium of sector bodies and skills providers including employers (both commercial and not for profit) across the industry, sector bodies such as Creative and Cultural Skills and the new National College for Creative and Cultural Skills, and drawing from the education and union organisationsto help address the challenges raised.
UK Theatre will also review its training programme, offering new courses and renewing its existing offer.
The Theatre Development Trust will support this initiative with seed funding.
Julian Bird, Chief Executive of SOLT and UK Theatre said:
“We are rightly proud in the UK of our dynamic and world leading theatre industry. For the sector to continue to thrive in ten or twenty years’ time, we need to make sure that we have the right skills in place and are attracting the right diverse mix of people. This report gives us a roadmap to work with Government and employers, and on behalf of the industry, to address the requirements of our growing workforce.”