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Welcome to the penultimate part of Rafe Beckley’s guest blog about setting up your theatre company honestly. Feel free to ask questions below!

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On Contracts, and why they’re a Good Thing

There’s a great temptation, especially when you’re starting out and things can all be rather informal, to overlook the use of contracts. Often people are a little scared of them, or think that they all have to be signed off by Equity (which is not true, but Equity have an incredible contract targeted towards companies on the journey upwards, and there’s another sample contract in the book what I wrote).

Here’s why contracts are good. I’m going to assume that most people reading this have, at some point in their lives, rented accommodation from a landlord.

When you did this, chances are you signed a contract. That contract would have detailed what the landlord expected of you, and what you in turn could expect from the landlord. In both signing a contract, you created an agreement whereby it became crystal clear who would be responsible for what, and under what circumstances they would be responsible for it.

Now, if you’d agreed to rent a lodging and the landlord had said something like ‘Contracts? Oh, don’t worry about those, you can trust me to behave appropriately, I’m a landlord! I’ll take your cash deposit now, please’, I daresay you’d have run a mile, and rightly so.

If someone doesn’t offer you any sort of contract, chances are that they’re effectively an amateur. Don’t work with them if you’re doing this professionally. There’s nothing wrong with amateur productions, you understand – I’ve seen more than one that’s been better than many ‘professional’ productions that I’ve seen. It’s just that if you’re doing this for a living, you need to work professionally.

The converse is also true. If you don’t offer anyone any form of contract, can you realistically expect them to feel safe and secure working with you? Probably not.

I’m not going to bother you with detail about contracts here. Suffice it to say that following the links above will make sample contracts available to you. Read them, and take it from there.

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Last chapter tomorrow! If you’re hungry for more detail, you can get your hands on the book here:

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