The National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Society of London Theatre and Stage Directors UK are among the organisations backing the creation of a new company aimed at tackling discriminatory working practices towards parents in the sector.
Parents in Performing Arts, which started life as a campaign in 2015, will become a limited company supported by 31 of the UK’s leading performing arts companies as part of a bid to maintain a longer term presence in the industry.
Having committed to supporting PIPA’s goal of enabling parents and carers to maintain successful careers across the sector, it is hoped that these organisations will lead the field in new ways of working.
PIPA’s work has so far included a report into best practice which found that eight out of 10 self-employed theatre workers had to turn down work because of caring responsibilities.
Co-founders Cassie Raine and Anna Ehnold-Danailov said developing PIPA from a campaign group into a limited company was necessary to “address the scale of change needed” and to ensure that its work and research could continue.
The 31 partner organisations include the 18 that helped PIPA form a consortium last year – led by the Old Vic and including the Donmar Warehouse, Equity, the National Theatre of Scotland and English Touring Theatre – as well as new supporters.
Unions BECTU, the Musicians’ Union and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain are among the other new partners, as are Shakespeare’s Globe, Nottingham Playhouse, National Theatre Wales and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse.
Raine and Ehnold-Danailov said: “Our work with the consortium showed that the current situation for carers needs a long-term voice working in partnership with the performing arts sector, developing strategies to provide organisations with solutions to ensure we get the best people staying in the workforce.
They added that becoming a limited company would allow PIPA to continue developing itself as the “go-to resource for research, knowledge, strategy and solutions”.
National Theatre director Rufus Norris said: “Access to work for all, including carers and parents, is crucial to the log-term sustainability of the performing arts. I’m excited to be exploring with PIPA how we can remove existing barriers that those with caring responsibilities may have faced and help shape new working practices at the National Theatre.”