Baking Biscuits and Balancing Budgets - Parents in Performing Arts
Updated: Oct 3, 2019
In our first week of R+D, held at artsdepot in July, there were kids in the room with us each day and we tried our best to integrate them into our process - from our Associate Producer’s 10 year old interviewing the core creative team, to a paper aeroplane race, and some great streamer dancing with our director’s 3 year old. We shared the songs and story ideas as they emerged and got that vital instant feedback as we saw what ideas captivated the children and when they just wandered off.
We follow the same logic through to our meetings, recently including discussing our marketing strategy while baking biscuits with three very excited small children, and a funding consultancy meeting whilst the writer’s 6 year old ate his lunch and did puzzle books!
This way of working is incredibly common for working parents in our sector and we are embracing it as creative and chaotic, and, ultimately, a practical way of achieving our aims of being close to our children without forgetting about our creative careers.
And a thankful nod to artsdepot who warmly welcomed our littlest team members to their venue, with a soft play space just outside the rehearsal room and a general ‘can do’ accessible attitude.
---- A little note from our Composer Arran Glass:----
"Working with Fly High Stories composing the music for their first show has been fantastic for me as a dad. Despite Jemma and Rachel saying it was alright to bring my two year old into rehearsals it still took them saying it three or four times before I realised I actually could. The fear that my child would disrupt the room and grind creativity to a halt was clearly deeply instilled in me as a theatre maker, probably because children are usually absent in the rehearsal process and there seems to be a constant struggle between family life and working in the industry. My fears were quelled when I arrived to a room full of toys and activities that had been brought in by the lovely team. A (my boy) had a whirlwind playdate with P (Jemma’s girl) and as there are often wonderful associates of the company passing through the room there was always someone who could keep an eye out/actively join in games/drawing/bubble blowing with the kids while some of us wrote, sang and played with our ideas for the show. T (Rachel’s 6 year old) had kindly lent us a million of his toys which were spread evenly throughout the room by the end of the day. artsdepot is brilliant for families too and there’s even a soft play area! Far from being the burden I feared it brought laughter, energy and fun to the room and reminded us all of why we make theatre and who it is for. "
- This Blog written by co-founder of Fly High Stories, Rachel Barnett-Jones