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Sadler’s Wells Freelancer Charter

We aim to create an open, transparent, and inclusive way of engaging freelancers. We do this fairly and with respect in a way that aligns with and embodies Sadler’s Wells’ values: Excellence, Collaboration, Inclusion, and Innovation, and are in line with Sadler’s Wells’ policies. We are committed to making changes to better working conditions for freelancers in both the short and long-term.

We define a ‘freelancer’ as a person who is registered as self-employed that works with us, engaged on a short-term basis. They can be regularly, but intermittently engaged, and are responsible for themselves in carrying out their work for us. For example, photographers, dancers, choreographers, workshop leaders or lighting designers to name a few. This does not include casual colleagues.

We celebrate the variety, freedom, and autonomy that freelance working offers. We also acknowledge that some people do not choose to be freelance; they must be self-employed as they do not have the option to undertake their work as an employee.

Why are we doing this?

We have developed this Freelancer Charter through a dialogue with our freelance community. We want to create an open, transparent, and inclusive way of engaging you. We want to engage you fairly and with respect, in a way that aligns with our organisational values and with any appropriate reasonable adjustments, Find out more about our values here.

This Freelancer Charter outlines our commitments to support two-way communication on how we will work together and what support you receive from us as a freelancer. It is published on our external facing website so everyone can access it, and we commit to reviewing it regularly to ensure it’s still relevant and reflective of our work and connections.

Our Commitments

Inclusion & diversity
  • At Sadler’s Wells, everyone is welcome. We stand against any form of discrimination and we expect freelancers working with us to follow these values.
  • We ensure all freelancers feel welcomed, respected, represented, and supported to fully participate warmly and with kindness.
  • We make freelancers feel valued and part of the team at Sadler’s Wells, working together to meet a shared goal.
  • We acknowledge and celebrate our lived experiences and all the ways in which we differ.
Equity & access
  • We identify and eliminate barriers that prevent freelancers from participating fully, allowing you to bring your full self to work.
  • We follow the ‘social model of disability’. Our definition is: Anyone living with a physical or mental condition that has ‘substantial’ (e.g. more than minor) and ’long-term’ (e.g. more than 12 months) effect on ability to do daily activities (e.g. takes longer or scope is limited).
  • We keep freelancers at the forefront of our decision making. Currently, we have freelance representation on our Board of Trustees and through our Trustee placements, and we have Freelancer Charter Working Group representation on our Senior Management Team.
  • We have a dedicated member of the People team for freelancers to contact and receive support from in accessing and navigating your work with us.
  • We provide additional support to those with access needs; for example, when we can, offering quiet spaces to retreat to when required when working within our own venues.
  • We continuously improve data collection practices and are transparent about our reasons for collecting this information which enables us to review how we are doing against our particular commitments and/or ambitions.
  • We listen and ensure freelancers’ voices are heard through an ongoing dialogue including debriefs to ensure needs are understood and actioned.
  • We ensure an ongoing dialogue to understand the actions and impact any decisions have.
  • We clearly communicate the full context for the work undertaken to foster a feeling of belonging and understanding, with a shared ethos and aligned values.
  • We clearly communicate the support available to enable you to carry out your work safely and successfully.
  • We acknowledge that people have differing preferences in how they receive information. Although we tend to use written communication, we are flexible and adapt to specific needs sharing information in a range of formats. Please let us know what suits you best.
  • We are transparent about timescales ensuring a level of flexibility both ways.
  • We respond to all correspondence quickly and resolve issues together effectively.
  • We acknowledge the vital contribution of freelancers and ensure you are included in all relevant communications related to projects you are working on.
Recruitment & fairness
  • We are transparent with our hiring processes; providing full information about the job, payment, schedule, and selection process, including who is making these decisions. We support the Disability Confident Scheme.
  • We issue written confirmation of the engagement by email initially (including dates and fees), and issue contracts as far in advance of the start date as we possibly can. These engagement contracts include a clear brief, breakdown of the fee based on responsibilities, payment terms, and days or hours of work (if applicable).
  • We rationalise and ensure consistency of contracts used across the organisation.
  • We use the organisation’s rates of pay guidance (reviewed annually) to agree fees and ensure fair pay for those engaged by us.
  • We ensure freelancers are paid on time according to the agreed payment schedule, and the expected payment date is confirmed when acknowledging receipt of the invoice.
  • In the event of a last-minute cancellation, we ensure you are paid according to your contract terms.
  • We deliver a welcoming induction process to introduce freelancers to the organisation, sharing information about our policies, mission, vision, values and support resources. This information will be included in your Welcome Pack.
  • We acknowledge the importance of feeling part of a community and work together to create a warm, safe, and supportive environment. As part of your induction, we will set out clear, two-way expectations whilst working with us.
  • We outline clear reporting channels, grievance and disputes procedures, with a dedicated member of the People team that you can contact with any concerns.
  • We outline specific responsibilities in the following Sadler’s Wells policies on Safeguarding, Health and Safety, Whistleblowing, Equality and Diversity, Bullying, Harassment and Victimisation, Safer Spaces, Data Protection and GDPR and Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Support & wellbeing
  • We create a positive working culture, promoting positive mental, social and physical health.
  • When you start working with us, we will provide a list of contacts in your Welcome Pack to speak to should you need help or support. We will also signpost you to resources and tools to help you maintain a positive wellbeing, and ask you to share your needs and requirements when you start working with us.
  • We have a team of Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) who are available to support our freelance community in the first instance. For a list of the MHFAs, please speak to your People team contact.
  • We take a holistic approach to wellbeing and can support you to create a Wellbeing Action Plan if required. This helps to identify what keeps you well when working, what causes you to be unwell and the support you would like to receive should you need it.
Professional development
  • We ensure freelancers have access to the information or resources needed to complete your work.
  • Where possible, we share information on training, development, and/or mentoring opportunities in an accessible way.
  • We acknowledge the precarious nature of freelance working and are committed to supporting you to sustain your careers by offering a space to give feedback or have a further dialogue once the work has been completed.
  • We recognise the importance of being an environmentally sustainable venue and workplace. We are working towards a public goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. We work to the baseline standard of the Theatre Green Book.
  • We promote sustainable practices in our venues with the Green Policy for Visiting Companies. We work to minimise our impact on the environment.
  • We promote sustainable practices with our Green Policy for Sadler’s Wells’ touring productions, and encourage the same of the venues we visit nationally and internationally. We set clear standards for our own productions.


There is an organisation-wide responsibility towards the delivery of this Freelancer Charter, supported by the Freelancer Charter Working Group and the People team at Sadler’s Wells.

We acknowledge language and social understanding can change. This living document will be reviewed annually not just internally but with the freelance community, and the next review will be undertaken in February 2025. If you have any feedback on this Charter, please contact

Nothing contained within this Freelancer Charter confers any employment rights or status, and does not form part of any contractual agreement.