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Parents in Performing Arts (PIPA) announces first major piece of work

Parents in performing arts...
Photo credit Brian Martin

Parents in Performing Arts (PIPA), a Consortium of 18 leading Industry organisations, announce its first major piece of work, a Best Practice Action Research Project. PIPA campaigns for equal opportunities and access to work for those with caring responsibilities.

Funded by The Arts Council of England, Creative Scotland, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Actors’ Children’s Trust, The Family Arts Campaign and UK Theatre, the aim of the research is to identify barriers facing carers working in the performing arts, and to investigate practical ways of reducing them. The outcome will be a Best Practice Charter to be embedded in Family Arts Standards in conjunction with the Family and Childcare Trust as well as other performing arts industry guidelines.

PIPA’s first of its kind Best Practice Action Research Project will be led by PIPA co-founders Cassie Raine and Anna Ehnold-Danailov with Dr Tom Cornford from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.

15 leading UK theatres and theatre companies will participate in the project: Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Donmar Warehouse, Dundee Rep Theatre, English Touring Theatre, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Hull Truck Theatre, Mercury Theatre Colchester, National Theatre of Scotland, National Theatre Wales, Northern Stage, Royal Court Theatre, Stellar Quines Theatre Company, Theatre by the Lake and The Old Vic (PIPA lead organisation.)

I couldn’t be more strongly supportive of this research being done and us striving as an industry to identity more and better solutions to the challenges faced by parents and carers juggling their family commitments and a career in the performing arts. This highly necessary project will help us all to understand better the reality of managing that balance across this varied industry and, I hope, inform practical steps for the future.” Matthew Warchus, Artistic Director, The Old Vic

I am delighted to be working with PIPA on this Best Practice Research Project and leading UK theatres. It is a key aim of Research at Central to combine intellectual enquiry with the needs and aspirations of contemporary professional practice, and it is a privilege to work on a project that responds to this challenge and promises to achieve tangible change in a crucial aspect of working life.” Dr Tom Cornford, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

The first stage of the research will be to gather qualitative and quantitative data through a survey and interviews  of present employees, and freelancers over past 6 months at the 15 participating theatres followed by 6 months trialling possible solutions, exploring barriers and developing creative strategies to overcome them. Participating theatres and theatre companies will attend three symposia to share learning, and will work in focus groups with support from the research team to manage the trials, before coming together in June 2017 to formulate the Best Practice Charter that will be launched in September 2017.


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