PIPA ANNOUNCES NEW CONSORTIUM

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PARENTS IN PERFORMING ARTS ANNOUNCES A NEW CONSORTIUM MADE UP OF AN IMPRESSIVE RANGE OF PARTNER ORGANISATIONS, UNPRECEDENTED BOTH IN SCALE AND REACH ACROSS THE PERFORMING ARTS

Today, Parents in Performing Arts (PIPA) announces the formation of a new consortium of leading UK theatres and arts organisations who will work together for the first time to support PIPA’s campaign for equal opportunities and access for parents and carers working in the performing arts.

Representing a major new commitment to attract, support and retain a more diverse and flexible workforce, the consortium will back PIPA’s endeavours to bring about sustainable change in attitudes and practices towards those with caring responsibilities.

Led by The Old Vic, the Consortium brings together a collaborative network of theatre industry bodies and unions including UK Theatre, ITC, One Dance UK, Equity, Spotlight, Actors’ Children’s Trust, Family Arts Campaign as well as Donmar Warehouse, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Mercury Theatre Colchester, Dundee Rep Theatre, Hull Truck Theatre, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Stellar Quines Theatre Company, National Theatre of Scotland and English Touring Theatre.  

Kate Varah, Executive Director of The Old Vic and Chair of PIPA commented:

‘The imperative to create an inclusive, accessible industry which promotes the diversity of our workforce feels more essential now than ever. The Parents in Performing Arts Consortium is engaged in finding a practical and compelling approach to promoting flexible working in the arts. Our aim is that the work of PIPA will have a meaningful and positive impact on the lives of parents and carers working across the performing arts, and on wider perceptions of them doing so.

Cassie Chadderton, Head of UK Theatre and Membership Development commented:

‘If the UK’s theatre and performing arts industry is to become representative of our society we need to make it possible for people from all backgrounds to enter and succeed in their career. UK Theatre is looking forward to working with PIPA to find long term, creative strategies to increase access to work for people with caring

commitments.’

Cassie Raine and Anna Ehnold-Danailov, Parents in Performing Arts Co-founders said:

‘This is as much about fathers as it is about mothers or those without children. Equality and access to work is a shared responsibility. We must develop an infrastructure that supports our workforce or we will continue to see inequality and a lack of diversity at every level of this industry. Diversity in the performing arts industry is as multifaceted as the solutions will be and we are taking a practical approach to removing barriers for parents and carers to work. 

Daniel Buckroyd, Artistic Director of the Mercury Theatre, commented:

‘If we’re serious as an industry about reaching out to the widest possible cross section of society with the work we make, and in particular engaging new generations of theatre audiences and makers, then we need to get serious about challenging the assumptions, and sweeping away the practical barriers that prevent many people pursuing a career in the arts. Opening up routes into the industry for people with caring responsibilities is an important, but often overlooked part of that process. This new consortium offers a great opportunity to get a dialogue going amongst theatres about what best practice in this area looks like.’

Parents in Performing Arts will work in partnership with organisations, employers and individuals to identify barriers to work for those with caring commitments, developing and implementing long term creative strategies to increase access to work. The commitment of the organisations in this Consortium is reflective of a nationwide desire to make positive change, to create an inclusive, accessible industry, representative of the diversity of our communities.

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 including long and late working hours, erratic, last minute recruitment practices, regular travel and notoriously low earnings.
  • Cassie Raine and Anna Ehnold-Danailov met in 2014 through a series of workshops for Ehnold-Danailov’s parent friendly theatre company Prams In The Hall. From the experience shared by other participants, as well as increasing frustration being vocalised by many fellow parents working in theatre, it became apparent that the lack of support and provision for carers in the Performing Arts was endemic, forcing many to leave the industry after starting a family. PIPA was officially launched in October 2015 at an event hosted by the Young Vic Theatre. With speakers including Romola Garai, Stephen Unwin, Lucy Kerbel, Rakie Ayola, Jonathan Summerfield, Tamara Harvey and Stephanie Street, the event was attended by over 400 people and 70 young children from across the UK. The event demonstrated the urgent need for a body to represent the struggles of carers; a place to voice frustrations and stories; an organised community to support parents in the industry and a pressure group to enable the changes so desperately needed. A PIPA Think Tank in January 2016 confirmed that the most efficient way to maximise the organisation’s influence, was to formally establish PIPA in the form of a Consortium.
  • Parents in Performing Arts Project Board includes: Kate Varah (Chair & Executive Director, The Old Vic), Melinda Burton (Head of HR, The Old Vic), David Brownlee (Director, Family Arts Campaign), Cassie Chadderton (Head of UK Theatre and Membership Development), Christine Payne (General Secretary, Equity), Alastair Coomer (Casting Director, Donmar Warehouse), Charlotte Jones (Chief Executive, ITC), Trina Jones, (General Manager, Birmingham Rep), Rachel Tackley (Director, English Touring Theatre), Helen Laws (Interim Head of Industry and Artist Support / National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science, One Dance UK.)
  • 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 found at http://www.pipacampaign.com/manifesto/


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