PIPA’s first Best Practice Research Project was undertaken in partnership with The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. The aim was to investigate barriers facing parents and carers working in the theatre industry, identify their needs and any existing supportive practices that could be shared, developed and trialled between participating theatre organisations across the UK.

The PIPA Consortium identified the need to establish an industry baseline in order to get a better understanding of the reality for those with caring responsibilities. Bespoke strategies could then be explored, in response to the findings, to increase access to work for people with caring responsibilities whilst supporting organisations to attract and retain a more diverse workforce.

The outcome of the research was the PIPA Best Practice Charter, the first of its kind, launched in November 2017.


Action Research

Working with theatres across the UK, the research was conducted in two phases

  • Phase 1 a UK wide survey of 966 Industry workers focused on identifying challenges facing carers and carers.
  • Phase 2 began with a presentation of the survey findings at a Symposium for participating theatre organisations and partners during which practical, sustainable solutions were identified to support carers and parents. The 15 participating theatre organisations trialled these strategies over 6 months, with a period of sharing and evaluation after 3 months in order to assess and refine, focusing on areas to develop. Organisations then continued to develop their trials and explore other potential areas for change.


The Best Practice Research Project was co-funded by the Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Actors’ Children’s Trust, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Family Arts Campaign and UK Theatre. The 15 participating theatre organisations that were involved are:

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

Please note this research project was targeted at theatre practices. We will focus on Dance, Opera and Music in 2018.

Download the full report HERE