Parents in Performing Arts Press Announcement

Release: Monday 3rd October


Today, Parents in Performing Arts (PIPA), a Consortium of 18 leading Industry organisations, announces its first major piece of work, a Best Practice Action Research Project. PIPA campaigns for equal opportunities and access to work for those with caring responsibilities.

Creative Scotland join a list of funders including The Arts Council of England, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Actors’ Children’s Trust, UK Theatre and The Family Arts Campaign, in supporting this research. The aim is to identify barriers facing carers working in the performing arts, and to investigate practical ways of reducing them. The outcome will be a Best Practice Charter to be embedded in Family Arts Standards in conjunction with the Family and Childcare Trust as well as other performing arts industry guidelines.

PIPA’s first of its kind Best Practice Action Research Project will be led by PIPA co-founders Cassie Raine and Anna Ehnold-Danailov with Dr Tom Cornford from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. 15 leading UK theatres and theatre companies will participate in the project: Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Donmar Warehouse, Dundee Rep Theatre, English Touring Theatre, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Hull Truck Theatre, Mercury Theatre Colchester, National Theatre of Scotland, National Theatre Wales, Northern Stage, Royal Court Theatre, Stellar Quines Theatre Company, Theatre by the Lake and The Old Vic (PIPA lead organisation.)

“The National Theatre of Scotland is delighted to be working with Dundee Rep and Stellar Quines to form the Scottish arm of this exciting UK wide consortium, exploring the challenges but more importantly the solutions, to ensuring people with caring responsibilities continue to access and thrive in the performing arts.”
Caroline Newall, Director of Artistic Development, National Theatre of Scotland

“I couldn’t be more strongly supportive of this research being done and us striving as an industry to identity more and better solutions to the challenges faced by parents and carers juggling their family commitments and a career in the performing arts.

This highly necessary project will help us all to understand better the reality of managing that balance across this varied industry and, I hope, inform practical steps for the future.” Matthew Warchus, Artistic Director, The Old Vic

“I am delighted to be working with PIPA on this Best Practice Research Project and leading UK theatres. It is a key aim of Research at Central to combine intellectual enquiry with the needs and aspirations of contemporary professional practice, and it is a privilege to work on a project that responds to this challenge and promises to achieve tangible change in a crucial aspect of working life.”
Dr Tom Cornford, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

The first stage of the research will be to gather qualitative and quantitative data through a survey and interviews of present employees, and freelancers over past 6 months at the 15 participating theatres followed by 6 months trialling possible solutions, exploring barriers and developing creative strategies to overcome them. Participating theatres and theatre companies will attend three symposia to share learning, and will work in focus groups with support from the research team to manage the trials, before coming together in June 2017 to formulate the Best Practice Charter that will be launched in September 2017.

For further information contact: / 07791 765 456

Notes to editors:

● Established in 2015 by Cassie Raine (Actor), and Anna Ehnold-Danailov (Director), Parents in Performing Arts is a grassroots organisation that emerged as a direct result of Cassie and Anna’s respective experiences of returning to work after having children. Both recognised that the unique challenges faced by carers in the performing arts industry include long and late working hours, erratic, last minute recruitment practices, regular travel and notoriously low earnings.

● Parents in Performing Arts Consortium is led by The Old Vic, London and includes Actors’ Children’s Trust, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Dundee Rep Theatre, English Touring Theatre, Equity, Family Arts Campaign, Hull Truck Theatre, ITC, Mercury Theatre Colchester, National Theatre of Scotland, One Dance UK, Spotlight, Stellar Quines Theatre Company and UK Theatre.

● Parents in Performing Arts Project Board is Chaired by Kate Varah (Executive Director, The Old Vic) and includes Alastair Coomer (Casting Director, Donmar Warehouse), Cassie Chadderton (Head of UK Theatre and Membership Development), Charlotte Jones (Chief Executive, ITC), Christine Payne (General Secretary, Equity), David Brownlee (Director, Family Arts Campaign), Jane Claire (Executive Producer, English Touring Theatre), Helen Laws (Interim Head of Industry and Artist Support / National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science, One Dance UK), Melinda Burton (Head of HR, The Old Vic), Rachel Tackley (Director, Chichester Festival Theatre), and Trina Jones (General Manager, Birmingham Rep.)

● The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama is a higher education conservatoire – a specialist college of the University of London which nurtures creative collaboration. Courses include acting, applied theatre, movement, musical theatre, drama & movement therapy, theatre & live performance, puppetry, scenography, actor & teacher training, voice, technical arts & production, and writing for stage & broadcast media. With over 60 academic staff, together with visiting artists and lecturers, Central has the largest grouping of drama/theatre/performance specialists in the UK, an active research culture and is a hub for the theatre and performance industries.

● Parents in Performing Arts campaigns for equal opportunities and access for parents and carers working in the performing arts. It aims to achieve sustainable change in attitudes and practices in order to attract, support and retain a more diverse and flexible workforce. A full list of PIPA’s aims and objectives can be read in their manifesto.

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