Can you have a child and be an artist? And why don’t the National Theatre have a crèche? 

Convener(s): Matilda Leyser

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Leap and the world will catch you

Needing to bring the issue into the work place. The issue is still seen and not heard, or sometimes not even seen.

Can you have a child and be an artist?

Discussion of the idea of a crèche at D&D. We’d enjoy also incorporating children in sessions. They can participate.

When being an artists and a parent there is a BIG difference between having a child and having children. More than one child is much much harder.

What happens when you take children on tour with you?

Can you be an artist and put your child first?

Why does it have to be a choice?

Why does anyone have to lose out?

Could you and the child both gain?

Children make you better at time management. Disciplines you to use your time well.

And the experience expands you.

It’s a privilege being with small children.

There’s the personal struggles but there are also public struggles – difficulties encounter in the industry because of having children. Assumptions made about mothers. Attitudes to Dads are different – they are sweet, whereas mums are seen as incompetent or problematic.

Still gross inequalities about how men and women are seen in work context around issue of children.

Issue of whether to tell people or not, as a woman, in job interviews, that you are also a mother.

On the other hand children can be used as a way for a woman to escape her career with dignity whereas for a man children mean you have to do BETTER and earn more money.

Single parenting very very very very hard as an artist but not impossible!

And the pay off is enormous.

Children can galvanize you.

Doe tour work become secondary when you have children or is your work ‘who you are’ in a way your children can never be?

Children need space. They can be apprentices to an adult life.

Possible your partner is actually harder work than your kids?

How much is child care shared between partners? Importance of being honest about this and what you want.

Why not have a crèche at National? Could be subsidized by Theatre’s budget.

 Universities have crèches.

There used to be a crèche at BAC.

Should there be more crèches nationally in all work areas?

Could be open to actors working everywhere not just at national.

Important to try to change the present culture. Often women are forced to stop their acting work to be mothers as makes no economic sense. All of an actor’s wages go on child care.

Difficulty of ‘net-working’ or socializing side of the job with kids. 

In Welfare State’s work were children hanging round – different culture.

In this country we’re not even v good at having children in restaurants let alone in rehearsals! 

Cultural denial of presence of children in social environment.

As  a parent to be- can you adjust your life in readiness? Or do you deny it and the just deal with it.

It’s a leap of faith: Leap and the world does catch you.

Perhaps you are a better parent if you are brave and passionate.

No-one can be unchanged by the experience.

So, yes, it is possible to be a parent and an artist – (but watch out, you may embarrass your kids!).