Last autumn we were partners in a project led by Strike a Light in Gloucester with an idea at its heart that seemed shockingly extraordinary for the cultural sector: Employing three artists to be just that – artists, with free reign over their activity while benefitting from the advantages of a contracted worker – monthly salary, holiday entitlement, and all those benefits that people employed by an organisation usually have.

The origin behind this idea was the continued inequality in terms of who benefits from ‘The Arts’ – both as audiences and professionals. Artists go underpaid, under-heard and under-supported – and Strike a Light, together with 13 partner organisations including TADC, decided it was time to change this. More than 400 artists applied!

We are delighted to share the news that three artists have now been chosen to simply “be artists” for a year, supported by Strike a Light but free to develop projects entirely up to them. It is about their creative practice, what they want to explore and develop. There is no pressure to create specific projects or shows. Exciting times ahead!

We will be sharing any updates on social media but if you would like to learn more about the project and how it developed, visit Strike a Light’s Let Artists Be Artists page.

Tom Marshman

Tom Marshman

Tom has been making theatre for 21 years, actively encouraging dialogue with participants through socially-engaged processes such as ‘Tea Parties’ – telling engaging, poetic & unpretentious stories. An overarching theme of that work is that of the outsider & their story, particularly regarding the LGBTQ+ experience: stories that have been omitted through archival silence. (Photo by Andre Pattenden)

Florence Espeut-Nickless

Florence Espeut-Nickless

Florence is a working class artist from Chippenham in Wiltshire, a town with no theatre and limited access to it. She’s a writer, performer, facilitator and theatre-maker. She makes work for both stage and screen about / with working class communities in the Southwest, in the hope to make the arts more accessible to everyone, regardless of background and geographical location. (Photo by Ned Espeut-Nickless)

John Pfumojena

John Pfumojena

John Pfumojena is a Zimbabwean actor, musician and composer with practice focused on Mbira and Marimba music cultures. He has won several awards, including a Zimbabwe Young Achievers’ Awards UK in 2019 for contribution to Theatre and Music. John is interested in the globalisation of the Mbira instrument of Zimbabwe and cross-cultural collaboration. (Photo by Byung Gun Jung)