The Value Of Design
Our Value of Design campaign in partnership with Equity, Bectu and the ALD was officially launched at the National Theatre on 17th April 2018 following this Press Release.
This event culminated eight months of meetings that had taken place since July 2017 when SBTD and the ALD were invited directly to the negotiating table for the first time in their history.
We believe that this meeting at the National was the first time in around 40 years that designers and the trade unions have come together in this way.
We were full to capacity with over 70 designers attending and a significant waiting list.
This campaign links directly to the re-negotiation of the UK Theatre and SOLT collective agreements which occurs every four years. These agreements determine minimum terms and conditions for our engagement in both the subsidised and commercial sectors (UK Theatre) and in the West End (Society of London Theatres).
Nearly two years of confidential, rigorous, detailed and often challenging meetings have been taking place behind closed doors since April 2018 with SBTD, the ALD, Equity, Bectu and on one occasion the professional negotiators for UK Theatre and SOLT sitting around the table with the aim of creating modernised, fit for purpose agreements that we want you to be able to utilise for yourselves and with your agents.
In February 2020 we were able to announce our significant, hard-won, interim victory: going forward all model box expenses and assistant designer costs agreed at the point of contract signature will now be paid by the engagers/theatre managements.
Many other key clauses were scrutinised, clarified and altered word by word to better reflect and protect our position as designers.
As we went into COVID-19 lockdown, we were planning The Value of Design 2 at the National to fully update you with new, ratified interim agreements.
UK Theatre and SOLT had agreed to a Phase 2 claim being submitted for a significant uplift in minimum fees which would have resulted in another round of these meetings through to April 2021 when the agreement we reached would be implemented.
Currently, we all know that we face a new and shocking battle for theatre in the UK to be able to survive this crisis and we are likely to face very tough interim negotiations of temporary contract clauses in the immediate future.
Our victories to date have been very hard won. It has taken three years to get this far and we must do everything we can to protect these changes that will also support graduating design talent, as the whole sector fights to get back on its feet.
You can read The Value of Design report from the 17th April 2018 meeting here
Fiona Watt, Chair of SBTD, June 2020