Change timetables to help parents tour, producers told
Producers are being urged to adjust the timetables of touring shows to support employees who are parents.
Campaigning group Parents in the Performing Arts has released a list of practical steps producers can take to help parents and carers on tour.
The guidelines have been released in response to PIPA “repeatedly hearing from producers and theatres” that they are unable to secure their first choice for performers due to caring responsibilities, and actors and stage managers saying they are no longer able to tour.
PIPA has called on producers to make “structural adjustments”, advising that some companies tour Tuesday to Saturday, which allows carers to get home each week and also means performers play to busier houses due to one show fewer per week.
Other recommendations include providing financial support towards the cost of childcare and introducing truncated rehearsal times with, for example, a late start on a Monday and an early finish on a Friday.
An online blog post from PIPA advises: “Whether someone is paying for a nanny on tour, a parent/spouse/friend to travel with them or someone to look after dependents at home, the cost is likely to be as much as that person’s wages for the tour.
“An additional subsidy, however nominal, sends a clear message that that person will be a valued member of the company.”
It adds: “This will pay dividends in terms of loyalty, goodwill and commitment to the production/tour. Some organisations have a ‘well-being’ line in annual budgets that can serve as a buffer in such circumstances.”
Other advice from PIPA includes offering family-friendly accommodation and taking the initiative to open discussions with potential employees even if their agent or casting director says they would not want to tour.
PIPA’s list of practical steps to support parents and carers to continue touring
- Make structural adjustments, for example some companies are now touring Tuesday to Saturday, which allows carers to get home each week
- Introduce truncated rehearsal times, for example a late start on a Monday and/or early finish on a Friday to allow parents enough time to get back for weekends
- Offer family-friendly accommodation to touring parents
- Offer financial support towards childcare
- Take the initiative to discuss options with actors, stage managers or other potential employees, finding out why they do not want to tour and what can be done to help
- Spread the word about the Actors’ Children’s Trust, which gives grants to actors with caring responsibilities to help with the cost of caring-related expenses