Cassie Raine, Actor, and Anna Ehnold-Danailov, Director, 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 parents working in theatre, it became apparent that the lack of support and provision for carers in the Performing Arts was endemic, and, if it was not addressed, would continue to see many being forced to leave the industry after starting a family.
‘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.’
Cassie Raine and Anna Ehnold-Danailov, PIPA Co-Founders
Working in Performing Arts means unpredictable working patterns, last minute recruitment practices, regular weekend, evening and holiday work, regular travel and low earnings. Location shoots and extensive hours worked in television and film can mean people can’t see their children or provide care at all sometimes for several weeks. Meanwhile, parents face significant difficulties accessing affordable, flexible childcare.
These are just some of the barriers encountered by parents and those with caring responsibilities that are specific to working within the Performing Arts. Raine and Ehnold-Danailov realised that any potential solutions would need to be industry led if we are to create meaningful, sustainable change.
In October 2015 PIPA was officially launched at the Young Vic Theatre. Speakers included Romola Garai, Stephen Unwin, Tamara Harvey, Rakie Ayola, Jonathan Summerfield, David Mercatali, Lucy Kerbel. The event was attended by over 400 people and 70 young children from across the UK. It 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 as a consortium.
‘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 Chadderton, Head of UK Theatre and Membership Development
CONSORTIUM PROJECT BOARD:
Kate Varah (Chair & Executive Director, 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)