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Freelance Task Force

Freelance Task Force

Oxford Playhouse is delighted to announce that it is sponsoring actress and drama practitioner Amantha Edmead as part of the nationwide Freelance Task Force. To find out more about Amantha please read her biog on the above tab. #FreelanceTaskForce


Oxford Playhouse is one of 138 organisations that have committed to taking part in the initiative started by Fuel Theatre to create a Freelance Task Force.

In May 2020, a group of performing arts organisations, including producing companies and venues, jointly signed a letter in support of the freelancers who make up a large and vital part of the ecology of the performance sector.

The letter has 3 main aims:
• To listen and respond to the needs of freelancers in the performing arts
• To call for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme to be extended in line with furloughing and until theatres can reopen in earnest
• To establish a Freelance Task Force of self-employed theatre and performance makers.

Read the full letter in full hereEach organisation signing up to the letter has committed to paying a freelancer for one day a week throughout June, July and August to join the Freelance Task Force.

Aims of the Freelance Task Force

The aim of the Freelance Task Force is to strengthen the influence of the self-employed theatre and performance community. It will create ongoing points of connection between freelancers, organisations, funders and government and amplify the voice of the self-employed in the conversations to come about how we manage the response to and recovery from the Covid-19 crisis in the performing arts sector.

Recruitment of Freelance Task Force

Each organisation taking part was worked in different ways to identify and engage the freelancer they are sponsoring. The Task Force aims to ensure good representation across the following areas:
• Geography
• Discipline /role – performance makers, technicians, stage management, support roles
• Diversity
• Age / Experience

Due to the short time frame between receiving the details of the Task Force and the deadline for appointing, Oxford Playhouse decided to gather recommendations for candidates, rather than do an open call out. Thanks to Fuel, we were made aware that there were some freelance disciplines and backgrounds under-represented on the Task Force; as a result, we have selected a candidate from the under-represented discipline of storytelling and community arts facilitation. It was also important to Oxford Playhouse to appoint a freelancer who was local, and who we are confident is best placed to communicate further information which arises from the Task Force to the rest of our local freelance community in Oxfordshire.

How it will work

Oxford Playhouse is committed to raising the voices of freelancers across Oxfordshire. Amantha Edmead’s appointment will help to reflect those voices and open the door to wider conversation. Amantha will co-lead wider conversations with freelancers across Oxfordshire, work on ideas with and for the Freelance Task Force and lobby on behalf of the freelance performance community. The Freelance Task Force will start work on 15 June 2020.

“I’m really pleased that Oxford Playhouse is sponsoring Amantha to join the new Freelance Task Force. This is not only an opportunity for Oxford Playhouse to support a local freelancer whose work we really value, it’s also a way of us declaring solidarity with our entire local freelance community, without whom we wouldn’t be able to put on shows or carry out our creative engagement work. I’m confident that Amantha will make a really valuable contribution to the Task Force and do an excellent job of representing the concerns of Oxfordshire’s freelancers in these important national discussions about the future of our sector.”

Laura Elliot, Programme & Participation Director, Oxford Playhouse

For more information please email

Amantha Edmead is an actress and drama practitioner. She trained at Guildford School of Acting, and studied Dramatherapy at University of Surrey Roehampton. Her theatre credits include: Saartjie Baartman inThe Resurrection Of Little Sarah – UnityArts; Bianca in Othello - TalawaTheatre; Lacy in Growing People - London Bubble; Clarissa in Not Quite Gospel - Nu CenturyArts; Politics of Love and Black Lives Matter - Unlock the Chains; Mrs Noah in Go Noah Go – LittleAngel; Pied Piper in Pied Pied - The OrangeTree; and for television: Eastenders; Doctors; The Bill; Casualty; and Song Catcher.

Amantha has developed three solo shows, The Backside Monologues (winner of Best Comedy in the International Solo Festival 2014, and a 4 star review at Edfringe 2015); On Their Own Ground, part of Offbeat Festival 2016; and Mary Prince, part of the Offbeat Festival 2018 – now SOLD, a 2 hander play performed at NorthWall Arts Centre, Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 - winning Best Ensemble from Music Theatre Review, and VAULT 2020, winning Theatre Show of Week 1. 

In 2009, she founded Kuumba Nia Arts (KNA), creating theatre through an African Caribbean lens. KNA continue to create shows and projects offering theatrical and storytelling interventions for diverse audiences.


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