Framework Turns Five - by Emma Ruse
What most people don’t see when they look at Framework Theatre is the first years of grafting and getting absolutely nowhere. As I’ve been talking to people and mentioning our 5th Birthday (which if our social media has worked is the day you’re reading this, March 29th) most people have responded with something along the lines of “oh is it that long already?”.
Until August 2020 when we produced #FrameworkFridays online, or probably May 2021 when the first Framework Festival took place, we had gotten absolutely nowhere. We had spent the first 3 years of our existence applying for projects that never happened, trying to get anyone to give us a grant or a scheme and just hitting brick walls at every turn. Of course, we had a lot of fun and made a fringe show (2 if you include the one we never got to take to the 2020 Fringe) but it also consisted of a lot of rejection, unpaid labour and not even knowing where to begin.
All of that culminated in where we are now, wanting to design and deliver the support that didn’t exist in the sector in 2018. Our support is designed for artists entering the theatre sector as it looks today, in the age of social media with all the pandemic-related challenges that come with that. Support designed and delivered by artists who know that experience because it is their experience right now. We hope that Framework can be the support we were missing, when we didn’t know who to talk to or where to go.
Since 2021 the snowball has just kept rolling and we have been very fortunate to meet, work with and champion hundreds of emerging theatre-makers across Scotland. We have been supported by a lot of wonderful organisations throughout the sector who give their time on a regular basis because they believe in this work. We have recently recruited a phenomenal board to help us take this charity to the next level and ensure that our work has longevity. There’s still a long way to go, our team don’t have salaries and finding the time to do all the “in-between” work is hard. It’s a scary time in the cultural sector right now, particularly for a small team of three, but having all of this support makes it easier to keep driving forward.
As co-founder I am immensely proud and thankful to everyone who has ever given their time to support us, work with us or attend one of our events. We have huge ambitions to ensure Framework keeps its unique position in the Scottish theatre sector, and allows us to continue providing high quality support for emerging artists. If you want to come and support us, we’re having a networking event on Friday 31st at The Studio in Edinburgh and we’d love to see you there!
Here’s to the next 5 years!
(Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Framework Theatre Company)