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Olivia Colman backs campaign urging political parties to support live arts

Olivia Coleman at the WhatsOnStage Awards 2018. Olivia Coleman at the WhatsOnStage Awards 2018.
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Actors Olivia Colman and Samuel West have backed a new campaign that urges political parties in London to sign up to a new live performance manifesto, which includes a pledge to pay performers recognised industry rates.

The manifesto also urges local councils to ensure money for live performance is part of multiple departments’ budgets, and that boroughs commit to launching at least one ‘creative enterprise zone’ by 2022. These zones would be designed to open up access to live performance to all residents, both as employees and audience members.

So far, a number of parties from London boroughs have committed to the manifesto, which has been designed by union Equity and its five London branches.

The Labour party in Croydon, Hackney, Southwark, and Waltham Forest has signed up to the manifesto, alongside the Green party in Hounslow, and the Monster Raving Loony party in Greenwich.

Colman said: “In Peckham, where I live, local government support is vital for the arts. Just as it is across the country. But all too often such support doesn’t extend to ensuring safe and fair working conditions for the artists who live and work in these communities.”

She added the parties that had signed up to the manifesto were “changing that” and said by signing up to the pledges they were “committing to sustainable terms and conditions for Equity members in London”.

West, who is the Equity deputy on the Almeida Theatre’s production of The Writer, said the union was fighting to end central government austerity so that local authorities can continue to fund the art and culture that brings their communities together”.

He added that the commitments would not cost councils “a penny”.

“The parties signed up have shown the moral leadership to ensure that even in a tough climate, local authorities won’t abandon the artists who live and work in their borough.”

The manifesto in full:

• Ensure the payment of industry rates for all productions or events that receive support directly or in kind from our local authority, in line with Arts Council requirements for nationally funded work

• Guarantee that alongside provision from an arts department, money for professional live performance is part of multiple departments’ budgets, showing the key role it plays in delivering a council’s strategic objectives

• Ensure at least one ‘creative enterprise zone’ in the borough by 2022, so as to open up access to live performance for all Londoners, irrespective of their background, both as workers and audience members

• Establish a twice-yearly trades council meeting for professionals working in the creative industries in the borough

• Use the planning process and community infrastructure levy to provide professional live performance spaces

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