Marrying an artist: HOW DO YOU SURVIVE?

Convener(s): Anna Porubcansky

Participants: Ben Cutler, Sarah Punshon, Dan Copeland, Elizabeth Johnson, Li E Chen, Anna Porubcansky

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations: 

SURVIVAL: economic / love / sanity

FINDING A BALANCE: between stability and artistic integrity


What kind of compromises do you have to make?

Personal compromises, compromises between the couple


Extra income:

  • Through real estate
  • Leading workshops
  • Finding jobs that don’t compromise your artistic integrity
  • Finding jobs that help feed your artistic work
  • Temp – and be sure to tell yourself why you are doing it, and what its for

Working together? [examples: Proper Job Theatre Company; Unlimited Theatre]

  • do you want your lives to be so intertwined?
  • important to maintain independent projects that are supported by each partner
  • designate a “safe zone” in the house, i.e. no talking shop in the bedroom

How do you find balance when partners are not associated with the arts?

  • need to find a common language so that you can talk about work, about the compromises that both need to make, about why one partner has to be away for x number of months a year…

It helps to have:


Be creative about how to stay in touch when apart for so long

Take photographs of yourself in the places you are ‘Amelie and the garden-gnome style

Have skype dinners 

Economic stress can affect artistic work

Combatting anxiety:

  • check the savings account and know that you’re going to be able to get through the next month okay.
  • “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” that teaches you to observe, name, and accept your fears instead of fighting against them.

Developing a ‘second skill’ – takes time and investment, but may be worth it.

Self-investment: know that the sacrifices you make help in your own further artistic development.

Acting jobs just for money? Does that compromise artistic integrity?

What are we willing to compromise?

Accepted, expected way a life should be – home, kids, some version of stability. But why can’t you turn it on its head and find a way that it works for you. We’re artists, why not be creative about how we live our lives?



Ultimately, it helps to remember that “I CHOSE THIS” …and hopefully:


Finding a balance that works for you and your partner. Making the compromises you are willing to make without selling your soul. Listen to each other. Know that it’s not going to be easy. Power on!