Category: Your career
Peer networks are a great help for informal sharing of good practice, bouncing ideas around, commiserating and good advice. They provide access to the experience of others and can help inform the work that we do. People use them to find out about resources and opportunities.
Being able to discuss common issues with others in an informal way helps support personal development and can be particularly important for solo practitioners who might be feeling isolated. The peer network can provide support in times of trouble and be a source of ongoing friendships which can help combat loneliness and they can also help to boost self-esteem.
Within the entertainment industry there is a range of networks and below are some you may want to connect with.
Away from career-related networks there is a lot of peer support available for people with experience of mental illness. These groups support each other towards better well-being using their own lived experience as a tool for support. We have included links to some of these in the your health pages.
Equity NetworksWellbeing for the Arts
Free fortnightly sessions aiming to boost positive mental health and wellbeing in the ArtsTALK
Fortnightly free sessions for people to get together and TALKThe Frazzled Cafe
A place to meet fortnightly and share personal stories in a safe, anonymous and non-judgmental environmentThe Stage
Parents in Performing ArtsScots Nits
Scottish National Internet Theatre SymposiumUK Actors TweetUps
Networking nights for entertainment professionals
1905 people who completed the ArtsMinds survey said that lack of performance work had contributed to their mental health problems. Part of the job of a performer or creative practitioner is getting the next job. This can take up a lot of time and it is easy to get bogged down in information about unpaid or otherwise unsuitable work. The whole process can be wearying and become a source of stress in itself.
Focusing your work research on reputable sources can help break this task down into something a bit less overwhelming. Here are some links that might be a positive starting place.
“When I'm depressed I procrastinate and find it difficult to motivate myself and my time management becomes erratic. Consequently my creative projects fall by the wayside and I waste time. I notice in these periods that I'm not so good at prioritising.”
Dont't take it personallyArts Jobs The Stage Equity Job Information Service Spotlight Link Arts Council England Funded Companies Arts Council Wales Funded Companies Arts Council Northern Ireland Funded Companies Creative Scotland Funded Companies ITC (Independent Theatre Council) companies FST (Federation of Scottish Theatre Council) companies PACT (Producers Alliance for Cinema & TV) companies
Performers report that they often feel they have very little control over their own career and this is a trigger for anxiety or depression. They find they are continually chasing employment or worrying about finding the next job whilst at the same time trying to give their best in their current work. This results in what feels like a non-stop and exhausting spiral. Some people succeed in breaking this pattern by creating their own work or setting up their own company; others take a look at their skills and consider using them to gain work in different creative areas; others try to get more active about finding work rather than purely relying on agents; some decide to do more self-marketing.
Here are some suggestions and resources which may be of help in breaking out of the cycle. Some of these come from FEU Training. This is the Federation of Entertainment Unions’ initiative comprising workshops and online resources all of which are free for members of Equity, the Musicians Union, National Union of Journalists and the Writers Guild of Great Britain. In Wales there is the CULT Cymru programme which is free to members of BECTU, Equity, Musicians Union and the Writers Guild of Great Britain.
“Everything is scary and seems beyond my control.”
“A regular conversation is how I am failing at this career as I feel very shut off from it and never quite in it with a chance. There seems to be a lot of closed doors and a lot of frustration on trying to open them. I have good days and bad days with it but it is never stable.”
Goal SettingFEU Training
Don't Take it PersonallyThe Stage
Lines2Memory -Tool for Helping Actors Commit Lines to Memory and Learn ScriptsThe Guardian
15 Tips to Setting Up a Theatre CompanyEquity
Guide to Combatting Low Pay and No Pay WorkFEU Training
Diversifying Your PortfolioFEU Training
Returning to Work After Mental Health Issues