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Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd: Theatre must do more to help working parents

Phyllida Lloyd Phyllida Lloyd. Photo: Joe Seer/Shutterstock
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Acclaimed director Phyllida Lloyd has argued the theatre industry needs to get its “house in order” and make better provisions for working parents.

Directing the all-female production of The Tempest for the Donmar Warehouse had made her aware of how mothers in the company had struggled, the Mamma Mia! director said.

“We ourselves have got to make things happen. On this project I have become profoundly aware of how the mothers in our company first of all can scarcely afford to do it, but they would not be able to do it unless we collaborate in a particular way,” she said.

She added: “We have got to get our house in order and go: ‘How do we accommodate the mothers with kids when we are working on these plays every hour god gives?’ We have to look at what we are doing in a different way, but believe that it’s actually still possible to create work of the greatest excellence and accommodate the needs of mothers.”

Donmar Warehouse executive producer Kate Pakenham praised the work of campaign group Parents in Performing Arts.

She claimed that the industry “joining together on these issues is key”.

“I am a great believer in collaboration and looking across the industry and in not doing something as an island, in a proprietorial way. So the work of PIPA and all the other diversity work that is happening is really valuable,” she said.

Earlier this year, the Donmar was named as one of the theatres that is part of a new consortium, aimed at boosting access to work for parents in the sector.

The Tempest is currently running in a temporary theatre space in King’s Cross.

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