“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 is 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.
- 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