An action research programme aims to find more and better solutions to the problem of juggling family commitments with a career in the performing arts.
By Dave Stagner (Flickr: The Little Prince) (CC BY-SA 2.0), via Wikimedia Commons
A consortium of arts sector organisations has launched a major project aiming to identify barriers facing carers working in the performing arts and investigate practical ways of reducing them.
The Parents in Performing Arts (PIPA) group campaigns for equal opportunities and access to work for those with caring responsibilities, given the “unique challenges” faced by carers working in the performing arts, such as long and late working hours, erratic, last minute recruitment practices, regular travel and low earnings.
PIPA will lead the action research project, which will culminate in a Best Practice Charter due to be launched in September 2017. The Charter will be embedded in the Family Arts Standards in conjunction with the Family and Childcare Trust, and in other performing arts industry guidelines.
15 theatres and theatre companies across England and Scotland will be involved in the project, with The Old Vic acting as PIPA’s lead organisation.
Financial backing for the research is coming from Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Actors’ Children’s Trust, The Family Arts Campaign and UK Theatre.
The first stage will be to gather data from present employees, and current and recent freelancers, at the 15 participating theatres. This will be followed by six months trialling possible solutions, exploring barriers and developing creative strategies to overcome them.
Matthew Warchus, Artistic Director at The Old Vic said: “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.”