Conveners: Amy Ip / Sophie Trott
Participants: Amy Ip, Laura Mugridge, Tom Frankland, Poppy Burton-Morgan, Sue Emmas, Matilda Leyser, Kristin Fredricksson, Sophie Trott, Dan Woods and others.
Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:
This session was called by Amy and Sophie had proposed a similar topic so it was agreed that the session would be merged into one.
Under discussion was how to be a working parent and still be a creative as due to parenting time constraints and money matters, it can prove to be very difficult as often childcare is required more ad hoc rather than on a predictable basis with other careers / jobs.
Children make time constraints on your creative time but some of the parents in the group with toddlers said that as the time constraints forced you to be more focused with your time and produced better work. Children can also be a great source of inspiration and can galvanise you into action.
Some participants had good relationships with their agents which meant that they had sympathetic support but others had had bad experiences. Also working with other professional creatives, some people were more than happy to accept the working parent situation, whilst others would not make any concessions to the working parents needs.
Because of attitudes like this, there was a fear about other people’s attitudes towards them as a creative individual, that they were somehow less committed to the creative process. It was also asked what is reasonable compromise on behalf of the creative parent and the company they were working with.
Many of the participants do not live near their family so childcare was a big issue as childcare is so expensive and there seemed to be little support for creative parents. Amy had contacted Equity about any resources available and had received no reply.
Poppy brought to our attention that the Young Vic provides a network for families that work in theatre that is overseen by Sue Emmas at the Young Vic. Luckily, Sue Emmas joined the session and asked us to email her on: sueemmas at youngvic dot org for more information.
Devoted and Disgruntled will also be calling a D&D Satellite meeting in April regarding having children and working in theatre, on the 25th April at the Young Vic.
For those who were thinking about having children or currently expecting, it was advised to be familiar with all your rights and benefits and being up to date with your National Insurance contributions so that you would be in receipt of Maternity Allowance as a self-employed individual.
The loneliness of being a creative mother was discussed as being a new mother can be isolating in itself and “socially disabling”.
It was felt that birth was marginalised in theatre and not discussed as much as death which was surprising as theatre is a reflection of life and something as important as this should have more attention.
Amy will email all the participants in this session so that we can keep in touch and hopefully develop a network of support.