A report covering FST activities during the financial year 2021/22
Having been an FST member since the early 1990s, I was honoured to join the organisation as its Chief Executive Officer in March 2021, a few weeks before the year this report reflects upon.
It was a time of anxiety, uncertainty, paralysis and real disadvantage for many. Despite this, the people and organisations working in the performing arts showed extraordinary resilience. They continued to adapt their practice and ways of working at every stage of a tumultuous year of openings, closures, re-opening, illness, cancellations – and ever-changing Government guidance in response to infection rates and new COVID variants.
FST is fortunate to have such a loyal, active and responsive membership who engaged deeply and thoughtfully in the wide range of activities the FST team continued to deliver. Importantly, members contributed a wealth of wisdom and experience, as well as uncomfortable realities about the situation facing the sector, which informed our important advocacy work with Creative Scotland, the Scottish Government, and others.
Increased numbers of members attended Members Meetings, meet-ups, and training events, once again demonstrating commitment to the community and generous support for one another.
The FST team continued to work exceptionally hard whilst still adapting to home working – and eventually hybrid working – on a day-to-day basis and also delivering a successful hybrid (in-person and livestreamed) Members Meeting in December 2021, just as Omicron hit. This ensured that those who were unable to travel could still engage with their fellow members and the real-time issues that were emerging.
FST are grateful to the people who worked with us during 2021/22 and have since moved on: Karen McGauchrane, Alice McGrath, Hanna Nommik, Joseph Peach and Allan Ramsay. Thanks also to all the individual freelancers we engaged to support various working groups and forums. We were also delighted to welcome Rhona Stevens to the team.
FST welcomed a majority new board at the AGM in September 2021 and, as ever, they have contributed generously to the planning and governance of the organisation in extremely uncertain circumstances.
Despite the challenges that have already been faced and those that lie ahead, FST’s membership continues to impress me with their creativity, resilience, and commitment to audiences and participants in Scotland, nationally and internationally. As I wrote this time last year, we cannot predict what the future will bring. I hope that, by working together collectively and compassionately, it can be a future in which we all find our place.
Fiona Sturgeon Shea
Chief Executive Officer