Who: Parent Artist Advocacy League (PAAL) for the Performing Arts
What: A national network and resource hub built to break barriers and stigmas of parenthood in the theatre arts while promoting and generating solutions and initiatives resulting in healthy work culture and compliance.
Mission: To empower and advocate for the parent-artist, both employee and freelance, in collaboration with theatre organizations in order to raise awareness of parent artist obstacles in the theatre and create work-life balance interventions, healthy work culture, stable protocols, and accessible pathways to employment.
Annual Forum Platform:
- 2017-2018: Motherhood in Theatre – Breaking the Silence
- 2018-2019: Initiatives & Solutions
- 2019-2020: Policy & Protocol
- 2020-2021: Culture & Compliance
“Subsequently we turned to seasoned theater professionals to understand the meaning behind the disconnection between what is well established in other fields and in theater advocacy compared to the interview and survey results. These further consultations led us to conclude that a silence surrounds the topic of family responsibilities in the theater world.”
– Women’s Leadership in Resident Theatres Final Report, Sumru Erkut & Ineke Ceder, Wellesley Centers for Women
What if being a parent artist in the theatre were an asset, an advantage to theatre participation that would result in better representation and employment opportunities? What if there were an organization dedicated to educating employer conversations against mother and father discrimination and empowering women and men to live boldly in their expanded family life choices with reduced negative consequences? What if there were people to advocate for the resources to make the lifestyle more possible?
MAM Ireland and PIPA UK are breaking ground answering this question in their respective countries, and now is the time for US theatre to unite for the same purpose. According to the Wellesley study quoted above, theatre companies could significantly improve work culture for parent artists with just one conversation a year. With the Motherhood/Parenthood in Theatre forums in a tri-city tour this year, we officially launch PAAL to initiate these conversations nationwide in an annual commitment. At minimum, we will generate the dialogue necessary to improve the current parent-artist work environment, and from there, we can help create better practices and solutions to make work for the parent-artist more productive and accessible.
I hope you’ll join us for this revolution.
Rachel Spencer Hewitt, Founder