A Collective Vision
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A Collective Vision

It is 5 years from now. What has changed in the performing arts sector around support for artist caregivers?

I no longer feel sneaky or bossy or misunderstood or not understood when asking for what I need to do my best job with my creativity, my body, my mind. I need time, rest, challenge (healthily), supportive teams, creative teams, openness, and willingness.

All theatre venues have a dedicated and equipped space for moms and their kids that includes free babysitting services.
Flexible working hours for all contract workers in the sector.
Artistic programming for kids during rehearsals and performances.

In 5 years time…
Having babies and children on site and included is “the norm.” Acknowledging and including children acknowledges and includes the parents/ carers. Artists do not have to pick between starting a family and maintaining their careers. “Care” goes beyond care for children. These strategies are implemented in sectors beyond the arts! Yay!

People don’t feel they have to sacrifice their ambition, dreams, career because they prioritize their family and their well being.
Children, their voices and their experiences are valued by the wider community (ie. not just their family, friends and schools).

That people are starting families whenever they want to because they know for a fact that
systems are in place to help them during this huge transition in their lives. That women are no longer facing barriers to professional development/ pay gap. That everyone being hired is being asked about their needs not just as a parent but as a human being.

4-day working week for full-time staff members. Flexible working hours, staggered mat/ pat re-entry is a common practice, as well as job shares. Rehearsal weeks provide onsite childcare OR childcare is accommodated in the artist’s fee – that is, they receive reimbursement or money at the beginning to accommodate childcare outside a 5 – 6 hour rehearsal day. Organization-wide / industry-wide shift in attitude to work > that is, not conflating extended hours and burn out with commitment and ambition.

5 years from now…
Childcare providers are regularly supporting Balancing Act with childcare in rehearsals, auditions, meetings, etc. We have established a fair and comfortable arrangement for childcare providers and parents subsidized by the government or equity or both to keep costs down and resources high without taking away from childcare providers' wages.”

Stage Managers would be no longer have to choose between being a parent or a stage manager but could return to work after their 6 month parental leave

2025 is the year of the bold initiative to integrate families into the workplace. People including parents and caregivers will engage in creative endeavors because, not in spite, of a community workforce who champions the creation and care of other human beings. There is no longer disparity between the ``have`` (children/dependants/partners) and the ``have nots``. The perception of ``freedom`` from any family ``encumbrances`` will be replaced by a perception of freedom from the trappings of a life that is lived only for the arts' sake.

Five years in the future…
Childcare provided on site for artists during rehearsal times.
5-day rehearsal week.
Paid returnships for new parents/ caregivers.
Advisors for new parents working in the performing arts who can offer individual support and recommendations about how to continue your artistic practice with new babies in your life. This could be a network of volunteer artists who can offer advice.

CCA, TAC & OAC recognize childcare as an artist’s expense in the budget.
It is a given that when a company has a performer/ director/ designer they take child care into account/ flex hours/ other accommodations and that is reflected in their annual budget.
Affordable, flexible childcare specifically aimed at theatre community exist in one centralized spot. And the entire community is aware of it – ie. childcare is no longer an afterthought.

The idea of a ‘returnship’ for artists who have left the industry really landed with me, and I hope that this becomes the practice for organizations of all sizes. Imagine the impact that could have to address the equity issues in our sector. I was also very taken with the idea of a staggered re-entry for those returning from parental leave. This idea is full of compassion, practicality, and great kindness.

Full childcare subsidy for artist parents.
Onsite childcare during rehearsals.
Onsite childcare for parents/caregivers for performances.
5 day work week fully implemented without penalizing artist fees.
Something has got to be done about TGCH!!
Onsite childcare.
Revised tech schedule from 10/12 to 8 hour tech days.
Overtime payment for all artists during tech.
Overtime pay for childcare.
Childcare benefits for all FIT and PIH employees or organizations.

Subsidized irregular hours/ stipend to artist parents. More 5 days work week. More opportunities to bring children for concurrent programming/ on-site childcare. The expectation of child-friendly spaces and access to quiet places for breastfeeding/ baby naps.
The expectation of flex hours. The expectation of accessibility needs as part of contracting. Boosted artist fees and job sector fees for arts/ arts management employees all around.

5 day rehearsal weeks would become the norm, as opposed to the exception. Companies who do a 6-day rehearsal week would be required to have Sunday as the day off so that people could spend time with their families. The only way that day would change would be by unanimous vote of all Equity members on the contract.

Staff members are offered a codified flex-time and work/life balance document. Touring artists have access to childcare, resources, equipment and a family hub when they arrive. Festivals offer childcare or kids programming alongside adult shows for Family Nights at the theatre. Make the boardroom transformable to a more child-friendly space (toys, books) for PA days and strike days and days when we just want to bring kids to work. Look into ways to share childcare costs between various parents at the organization.

At conferences, in workshops at shows and in theatre offices across the country there are kids present who are part of the art of it all. They are welcome. Artist parents are making work and being parents happily.

Artists bring kids/ family to residency periods and feel supported. There are more families in all our audiences. It feels normalized to have kids throughout the space during work and show hours. There is a caregiving line in all of our show budgets to apply to specific needs of artists. We ask everyone we work with how we can support if they are caregivers. Not wait for them to advocate for themselves.

2025: The COC and the Ballet have an in-house caregiving space with quality programming and facilities, for arts workers to take time to see a show.
My own work space has a 3 or 4 day work week, 5 hours per day in office/ work from home flexibility/ a room dedicated to young persons/ aging persons to come and spend the day with me at work, with a caregiver(s).

Rehearsal days shorter, week shorter. Caregiving (and accessibility) are seen as hard costs, not add-ons or dreams. (Artist wages) and funding support from Gov and arms-length councils have gone up significantly to reflect real costs of caring for people and process.

Easy access to affordable childcare through arts organizations. Programs recognizing the different needs of freelance/ regular employees. Recognition of partners’ roles in supporting artists.

Daycare.
Family room – including space for parents, etc.
Five day work week.
Ability to work remotely.
Best (better) practices for return from maternity/paternity leave.
A toolkit of support that the organization has set up and is ready to offer throughout the year.
Eldercare - tickets, programs, space, access to activities.

All theatre venues have a dedicated and equipped space for moms and their kids that includes free babysitting services. Flexible working hours for all contract workers in the sector. Artistic programming for kids during rehearsals and performances.

In 2025, due to the Balancing act project, it is now the norm for people to have their young children at work. The CTA and other Equity agreements have a clause about breaks for breastfeeding and a requirement for companies to provide a space and childcare worker for the children of the artists. This worker would be paid half by the artist and half by the company. This would ensure that no one would have to rush to pick up their child from the childcare facility by 6 p.m. or pay fines for being late. This childcare option would also be available on 10/12 days and late into the evening if necessary.

Please share your story and vision for the future of caregivers in the performing arts with us. All submissions will be treated anonymously.