How can you be a parent of young children and a theatre maker?

Convener(s): Ed Bartram

Participants: David J, Mark, Nick Haverson, Catzeagle, Jonathan Holloway, Nick Sweeting, Kate, a ferguson, Laura Edey, Simon Treves, K Lloyd, rod, Helen Pringle, Sarah jane, Martin, Paul, Scarlett, Alex, Kylie


Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations: 

Lots of varying views on the subject…

■ networks and other parents are vital  - there is an amazing resource here [all different people who are interested] – parenthood as nourishing and stimulating us as artists; with parents in theatre, it really informs their kids what they do later in life. 

■ as a parent some things start to make sense, you acquire some wisdom and really fucking annoying when the people in the room [making decisions about theatre and productions] don’t get it

■ plea in a positive way that you communicate your issues effectively – having children might be one of those things; don’t want to fall into mentality of “you can’t understand if you don’t have children”; everyone who has children has different responses to looking after children

■ as a producer can’t be all supportive – got to draw line somewhere in terms of supporting performers with kids

■ its really hard `‘when I’m with kids and making work I’m not really present [with kids]’; ‘completely lost my focus when my first child was born’; ‘whole new interest in young theatre’; ‘difficult to reconcile pursuing obsession of theatre and dealing with kids’; choosing your compromises: if you’re absent from the club its really difficult to get decent work; parenthood changes way of working, changes schedules, shorter term projects, won’t tour

■ got balance wrong at first didn’t spend time with first child, and not repeating pattern with later kids; responding to own experience of parents as actors and how that created problems

■ difficulties around child protection / OFSTED issues if you look after a group of children not your own; do the children have to be in the same room as you form a legal perspective? When does looking after children become someone else’s business

■ Holyheld festival (near Falmouth) really well organized for kids; Young Vic has group on genesis network for directors with children

■ Northern stage in Newcastle developing projects with performers with children but tough with OFSTED / nursery issues etc

■ childcare pools suggested for artists across country; in Australia common for nanny to work with a company