The Freelance Taskforce with Sam Dunstan

Photographer credit Ali Wright.

To download an audio version of this blog post, click here.


The world is going through an unprecedented time of change right now, and the arts is no exception. We are now accepting the fact that our sector will look significantly different in the ‘new normal’.


Since the lockdown began, many arts organisations have been planning how they want the future of the sector to be. Despite 70% of those who work in the arts sector being self-employed, the opinions and ideas of freelancers were not being factored into these discussions.


To address this silence of the majority, FUEL Theatre launched the Freelance Taskforce. The taskforce is now sponsored by over 130 organisations, engaging more than 150 freelancers just like you and me. Now I want to know your views, struggles and ideas.


What is the Freelance Task Force?

We have three main aims:


To co-ordinate wider conversations with freelancers in our area.

Lobby on behalf of the wider freelance community.

Ensure information about government support and sector changes is widely distributed.


How does it work?

On the local level, I’ll be communicating with artists about what issues affect freelancers in Doncaster.


On the regional level, I’ll be meeting with my equivalent task force members in Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford and other areas of Yorkshire to discuss the common issues for freelancers.


On the national level, I’ll be adding your feedback to the wider conversation with task force members from across the UK and with organisations such as UK Theatre, BECTU, Equity and Arts Council England.


This is our chance to make our collective voices heard. To tell those in positions of power what isn’t working and form a united front to see the change we want - locally, regionally and nationally.


With that in mind, I want to hear from the freelancers of Doncaster and South Yorkshire. Whether you’re a musician, producer, director, writer, actor, videographer, dancer, painter, puppeteer, magician, poet, drag artist, comedian, live artist, juggler, fire-dancer or anyone that considers themselves a freelancer in the arts - I want to hear from you.


To be clear, I am not employed by Cast. I will be working with them to implement your feedback and try to improve things for our community, but I am not employed by them. I am engaged for 13 days at 1-day a week from June-August, at a rate of £125/day.


Rosie Clark, Associate Producer at Cast, comments:

‘The Freelance Taskforce is an incredible opportunity for Cast and other core funded organisations to work with more freelancers, gather vital information about how we can work better together and improve relations, opportunities and communication going forward.  Our process for selecting Sam as Cast’s sponsored freelancer happened quickly due to deadlines for joining the task force. Ideally Cast would have held an open recruitment process but unfortunately there just wasn’t time.

 I spoke to a number of local Independent artists from a performing arts background from Doncaster and currently living in Doncaster to discuss the opportunity and it was decided that Sam would be a great fit for the task force due to his experience leading similar discussions and being a confident and efficient leader. Sam gets it and is committed to supporting artists and freelancers through his work setting up Jozara to his general good practise and creative projects. I’m really positive that this will lead to great things for freelancers both locally and nationally and help prepare our industry for what the future has in store. Please feel free to drop me a line to discuss this project further and join up to our Artist co-op to hear about upcoming opportunities


I’m in! How do we get started?

You have a few options for which ever fits you best.

Survey: Click here to fill out a form that gives me an idea of your initial thoughts. I’ll then follow up with a phone call or email or you can fill it out anonymously.


Directly: Email me on

Phone, Text or Whatsapp me: 07702 409331


Online: On Wednesday 15th July at 19:30 there will be an open discussion/virtual chat hosted by the Task Force for South Yorkshire freelancers. Click here for more info and to sign up. If you can’t make it but would like to attend them contact me and I’ll keep you updated with anymore online events.


In Person: If you would prefer to talk in person, then send me a message and we can arrange a socially distanced chat at a time and place that suits you.


PLEASE HELP US SPREAD THE WORD! If you know any freelancers in the arts in Doncaster or South Yorkshire, then send them this blog and tell them to get in touch.

About Sam Dunstan

Sam is a director, producer and lecturer living in Doncaster, primarily working in immersive theatre, physical theatre and community practices. He was born in Mexborough and grew up in Conisbrough, before moving to London to train at Rose Bruford College.


Sam is sponsored by Cast to represent the freelance creatives of Doncaster on the Freelance Taskforce.


Follow Sam over on Twitter here, at The Growth House here, or Jozara here.