Arts organisations across Greater Manchester – including the Royal Exchange Theatre, Home and the Lowry – have joined together to support freelances during the Covid-19 outbreak.
GM Artist Hub is a collaboration between a group of more than 10 organisations in the region and will provide artists with opportunities to sign up for sessions with producers and directors to explore the “challenges, ideas and opportunities” open to them during the pandemic.
It is hoped that the the initiative may also secure funding to support a wider programme of workshops, professional development activities, as well as employment opportunities and commissioning that respond to the needs of the freelance community in the area.
Other organisations involved include Contact, Manchester International Festival, Octagon Theatre Bolton and Oldham Coliseum Theatre.
Claire Symonds, who is senior producer of artist development at the Lowry, said: “Greater Manchester is known for its brilliant creative ecology, from the established venues through to the independent performers, artists and companies who are out there making things happen on their own terms.”
She added: “Independent artists and freelance creatives are carrying some of the biggest impacts in our industry, facing both an immediate loss of income with no notice as shows and projects are cancelled, and the prospect of future cancellations as the situation progresses. But artists are the lifeblood of our industry. What’s more, their creativity and ability to adapt will be absolutely critical as we all look for new ways of reaching out to audiences while social distancing is in place.”
She said GM Artist Hub would aim to offer “support or advice as they explore this new territory”.
“Whether you’re an artist looking to get involved or an organisation that wants to join us in supporting Greater Manchester’s independent sector, we’d love to hear from you through GM Artist Hub,” she added.