How can I validate/make important being an artist/theatre practitioner while being a mother/breadwinner/ life organizer?

Convener(s): Mufrida Hayes

Participants: Emma Bernard, Alan Guyndat, Matilda Leyser, Sam Howey Nunn, Elise Davison,Regima Mauder, Persephone bayley, Katherine, Magelex, Kate Golledge, Gisele, Mufrida, Morna

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Lots of discussion around making the space to do theatre whilst kids are young. Group was made up of mothers of very young, mothers to be, mothers of middle range and grown up kids. These are notes taken that brought up questions of how to hold on to what makes you, you, being a theatre practitioner. 

Asked have you been using creative energy while kids young.

 “Didn’t want to do theatre touring when kids small, couldn’t think about it. But other areas open up corporate theatre, voice-overs, radio etc”

Being a mother gave confidence as an artist. No time to worry or be self indulgent, just get on and do the job or get the job. Focus

Some spoke about women managing to do touring with young kids or taking kids along.

Theatre allows you to be a child. How do you validate this?

Need to be who you are. ? Single mother- relies on family members to support her so she can work. We all felt guilt –being here on the weekend. No childcare.

Morna was a single parent a number of years ago, got support from women’s movement. Feels the political backing has gone. Thinks it is our right to be a mother and an artist. Need support from othe4rs that support that right. Where have all the crèches gone?

Patriarchy – an unfashionable word. How do you keep sure that what you do is valid? “Solidarity” is an out of date world, sorry word. Thought I’d leave that in. As you get older as a woman about what you’ve done not what you do…..

Fear of assumptions

Never tell people you have kids when going for a job, because of assumptions they will make. Think you won’t want to go away, work the hours, be available etc

It’s whether or not you see it as a problem. Support network.

Need to be “selfish2

Male idea “tortured artist/ genius" – not compatible with changing nappies.

Being a good mum means doing the thing that makes you who you are.

The children will move on.

Being a mother gives sense of perspective as a practitioner, less doubt, less desperate.

Need to still be allowed to develop after kids have grown up.

Career break – should be free to start again when you are 40.

Changing the paradigm-

How can the roles be mutually enriching?

How the skills of “mother” and “artist” the same or related?

Network of names about mothers and artists

Nice when children start to get involved/ take an interest

Difference between being self employed/ employee. In some ways self employed easier

How does having this lifestyle influence the children?

Being an artist is being careful? Can be a “carer” and an artist, they can be related.

Need to hear people say “it’s possible” “It’s okay” “You can do it”

Need to continue to feed the soul to be a better parent.

Network. Childcare between actors.

Categories/ job titles become a bit irrelevant –as a mother need to be resourceful

An agency for mothers ?  Mixed reaction to this

Broader issue of “child role” “adult role” in life

Finding companies where children are welcome.

There was lots of discussion and we thought we’d set up a ning nong for parents and parents to be as an encouragement network…. Watch this space