Welcome

Who: Parent Artist Advocacy League (PAAL) for the Performing Arts

A collective of individuals and theatre organizations committed to family-friendly practices in the theatre.

What: A national network and resource hub built to stimulate conversation that breaks barriers and stigmas of parenthood in the theatre arts while promoting and generating solutions and initiatives. 

Mission: To empower and advocate for the parent-artist, both employee and freelance, in collaboration with theatre organizations in order to raise awareness of parent artist obstacles in the theatre and create work-life balance interventions, healthy work culture, stable protocols, and accessible pathways to employment. 

Events: Motherhood in Theatre Forums 2017: Breaking the Silence [PAAL Launch] 

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Annual Forum Platform Trajectory:

  • 2017: Motherhood in Theatre – Breaking the Silence
  • 2018: Actionable Solutions, Initiatives, and Opportunities
  • 2019: Parent-Friendly Policy and Protocol

Approach:

Subsequently we turned to seasoned theater professionals to understand the meaning behind the disconnection between what is well established in other fields and in theater advocacy compared to the interview and survey results. These further consultations led us to conclude that a silence surrounds the topic of family responsibilities in the theater world.”

– Women’s Leadership in Resident Theatres Final Report, Sumru Erkut & Ineke Ceder, Wellesley Centers for Women

What if being a parent artist in the theatre were an asset, an advantage to theatre participation that would result in better representation and employment opportunities? What if there were an organization dedicated to educating employer conversations against mother and father discrimination and empowering women and men to live boldly in their expanded family life choices with reduced negative consequences? What if there were people to advocate for the resources to make the lifestyle more possible?

MAM Ireland and PIPA UK are breaking ground answering this question in their respective countries, and now is the time for US theatre to unite for the same purpose. According to the Wellesley study quoted above, theatre companies could significantly improve work culture for parent artists with just one conversation a year. With the Motherhood/Parenthood in Theatre forums in a tri-city tour this year, we officially launch PAAL to initiate these conversations nationwide in an annual commitment. At minimum, we will generate the dialogue necessary to improve the current parent-artist work environment, and from there, we can help create better practices and solutions to make work for the parent-artist more productive and accessible.

Goals:

  • Address the silence and initiate annual conversations across the country among theatre professionals, both employer and employed
  • Advocate with Fair Wage Onstage and address the childcare dilemma
  • Abolish discriminatory practices and language, especially against pregnant women and mothers, by raising awareness, developing work culture protocol, and providing resources for self-protection
  • Promote and create pathways back in for mothers who take time away

I hope you’ll join us for this revolution.
Rachel Spencer Hewitt, Founder
Author: AuditioningMom.com

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“As someone who has been a freelancer in the arts and most recently a founder of a non-profit start-up, I found myself questioning the ability to make ‘parenthood’ ‘work’. Something that I continue to be surprised (and elated) about is that it does indeed work.”

Jill Harrison, Director’s Gathering Philadelphia

By disenfranchising this diverse group of willing collaborators (parents in the performing arts), the theater dangerously cuts itself off from some of its greatest artists.

Rachel Spencer Hewitt, AuditioningMom.com