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Unions and Associations

SBTD works in close liaison with our fellow professional associations the ALPD (Association of Lighting Production Designers), ASD (Association of Sound Designers) and SDUK (Stage Directors UK).

As heads of these associations we have been consulting with one another and meeting together regularly since 2016 on both a formal and informal basis.

SBTD has also been in regular dialogue with the Personal Managers Association (PMA) which is the professional body that agents belong to.

These conversations have been vital to us all, particularly in the period since July 2017 when we have been directly around the table with Equity and Bectu for the first time to shape and inform the re-negotiations of the UK Theatre (mainly but not exclusively, the subsidised theatre sector including the ‘Big 13’ producing houses) and the SOLT (Society of London Theatres) collective agreements that underpin most contractual practices in the UK.

The ITC Collective Agreement is coming up for re-negotiation next and we have also been working closely with Equity to develop a Fringe Agreement that outlines best practice and a code of conduct for this sector.

Coming together in this way is vital if we are going to affect long lasting and long overdue change in the working terms and conditions for designers.

Trade Unions

Set & Costume Designers and Lighting Designers are covered by the same collective agreements for Theatre Designers. Equity is primarily the Union that represents us.

For costume makers, wardrobe team members, technicians and those with an events focus to their careers who may work constantly across theatre, live events, film and television, BECTU may be a more appropriate Union to join.

Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU)
As a member of Equity or Bectu, you also automatically become a member of FEU who offer a wide and eclectic range of business skills training for creative freelancers.

United Scenic Artists
A number of designers who also work regularly in the USA are members of United Scenic Artists who usually hold an annual meeting in London which we attend and they share resources with us when appropriate.

Professional Associations

As professional associations we are very keen that we draw upon and utilise one another’s expertise. If you are looking for advice in any of these specialist areas, please do get in touch with the relevant association.

As we go forward, we are all keen to work in closer partnership to create joint events, symposia etc. and we would be very happy to hear from you if you have ideas and suggestions about what you would like those to be.

Association of Lighting Production Designers (ALPD) —
Association of Sound Designers (ASD) —
Costume in Theatre, Entertainment & Arts —
Stage Directors UK (SDUK) —
Association of Theatre Technicians (ABTT) —
Stage Management Association (SMA) —
Production Managers’ Forum —
The Irish Society of Stage & Screen Designers —

OISTAT (International Association of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians)
SBTD is one of two UK OISTAT centres (ABTT being the other).
This plugs us into a worldwide network of active practitioners and educators enabling the ongoing exchange of knowledge: sharing innovations, encouraging experimentation and promoting international collaborations in the development of live performance as well as its technologies and the space that hosts it.

SBTD are represented on the board of Skillscene, a cross industry body including employers, professional associations, unions and individual employers that acts as an industry consultant on all matters relating to standards of training in technical theatre arts including apprenticeships and CPD.

Creative Industries Federation 
Our membership of CIF gives us the opportunity to be hard wired into the political, economic and social decision-making being made at government level that impacts significantly on our sector. We are very proud to lobby and advocate, contributing our significant expertise..



As a consequence of the COVID pandemic, we have all felt that it is more important than ever that offstage associations, campaign groups and individual practitioners without an association talk regularly with one another.

We first met together on 23rd June and have since formed the Alliance of Associations and Professionals in Theatre & Live Events (AAPTLE) to galvinise our collective voice to generate strong and purposeful cross industry communication and advocacy for COVID-19 recovery and beyond.

We are meeting weekly.

We intend to act together as a focussed channel of communication for key management associations, engagers, producers, trade unions and anyone else concerned with the staging of live events to engage with the expertise of the practitioners who make the work. While our immediate concerns must be for effective and safe COVID-19 responses, we intend that this impacts to a build a ‘new normal’ of inclusive and representative professional practice in the 21st century.

Minutes from the meetings can be found below

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