24-Hour Theatre Helpline launched to provide support for industry professionals

SOLT

SOLT

Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre have launched Theatre Helpline, a free 24-hour phone and email service supporting theatre professionals with any issue affecting their health and wellbeing.

The confidential resource, available from 00:01 on 14 June, offers support and advice on a range of personal and professional topics, including bullying, physical and mental health, finance, careers and retirement issues. It is open to anyone working in theatre, whether in-house or freelance.

SOLT and UK Theatre are working with Wales-based company Connect Assist to provide the helpline. Callers will be given a safe place to share worries and concerns, and be provided with the resources they need to seek professional help if necessary. Like other existing support services in the UK, Theatre Helpline is not a whistleblowing service.

Created as a result of SOLT and UK Theatre’s 2017 Theatre Workforce Review and the rise of several high-profile movements against toxic working cultures, Theatre Helpline complements work already being done by SOLT and UK Theatre as part of industry-wide efforts to encourage safe and supportive working practices.

downloadable handbook is available on the UK Theatre website, containing ‘10 Principles’ encouraging safe and supportive working practices in theatre, a legal checklist to help theatres implement or modify policies and procedures, summaries and suggestions from open forums held across the country, and a list of organisations equipped to deal with sensitive issues.

Cassie Chadderton, Head of UK Theatre, said:

‘UK Theatre and SOLT are committed to bringing the theatre industry together to provide a supportive working environment for everyone. People do have challenges that affect their working lives, and inappropriate behaviour can be found in any area of the industry. Whether in the rehearsal room, boardroom, front of house or backstage, we hope Theatre Helpline provides a place for theatre professionals to talk through any concerns they have, at any time.’

Theatre Helpline will initially run as a pilot for one year, providing the industry with insight into what further support might be necessary, and how it might be funded in the longer term.

To promote the helpline, SOLT and UK Theatre have produced posters and business cards detailing the service provided and the contact information. A digital version of the poster is available to download on the Theatre Helpline website: theatrehelpline.org 

The number for the Theatre Helpline is 0800 915 4617. The email address is [email protected]All calls are free of charge.

 

THEATRE HELPLINE FAQs

Who can contact Theatre Helpline?

The helpline can be used by anyone in the theatre industry. You can be employed, self-employed, a student or a volunteer, for example. You do not have to be a member of UK Theatre, SOLT or any other membership body or organisation to use Theatre Helpline.

When is the helpline open?

The helpline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round.

Is the helpline free to call?

Yes, the helpline is free to call from both a landline and a mobile.

Who is at the end of the phone?

UK Theatre and SOLT are working with Connect Assist to provide the helpline. Connect Assist is based in Wales and provides helpline support for a number of UK charities, including Film and Television Support and Help for Musicians.

The people at the end of the phone are professional, friendly, approachable and knowledgeable. If they can’t help you, they will refer you on to a person or source who can.

How is Theatre Helpline funded?

The support line will be run as a pilot for one year (resourced by the Theatre Development Trust, SOLT and UK Theatre). During this year we’ll assess usage and need, gaining the insight that will help us decide what further support might be necessary, and how the support line might be funded in the longer term.

What sort of thing can I ring the helpline about?

It is a support line that offers anyone working in the theatre and performing arts industry a resource to help them deal with any issues affecting their health and well-being. The person at the end of the phone can offer advice, guidance and signposting.

For instance, you might be calling about where to apply for funding, or because you are going through a bereavement and want to know where you could receive emotional support, or because you have an employment issue and don’t know where best to turn to help you sort it.

Is my call confidential? Do I have to give my name or other personal details?

Your call is confidential. You can give as many details as you are comfortable providing.

The person on the helpline will ask you for some basic details such as the region you are in, or the sort of role you have in the theatre industry. They will feed back anonymous data, such as the types of issues people are calling with, to help UK Theatre and SOLT to continually improve the service and understand what may need to be developed after the helpline’s pilot year.

All calls are recorded for quality and staff training. All recordings are deleted after 3 months.

I am deaf / can’t hear very well on the phone / have a speech impairment – are there other ways I can contact Theatre Helpline?

Yes, you can email the helpline on this email address: [email protected]

I have some feedback on my experience on the helpline, who can I give this to?

SOLT welcomes your feedback on your experience using the helpline. You can give the feedback though emailing UK Theatre and SOLT on [email protected]  or the Connect Assist team on [email protected]co.uk