Festivals are a notorious challenge for people with kids or other dependents whose safety and well-being depends on them. At PIPA, we’ve been grappling with the best strategies to support parents and carers at festivals for several years. 

In January PiPA Co-CEO Cassie took part in a European co-funded webinar event with On The Move exploring the tensions between touring, festivals and caring for children in the EU and internationally. Also on the panel was Nigerian visual artist Emeka Udemba, a leading residency centre, and French circus producer Nolwenn Manac’h. You can watch the recording of the webinar here.  

As this is particularly important for us and has become a particular focus of ours, PiPA was lucky enough to have the opportunity to be able to host our own event at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year. Chaired by Scotland Programme Manager Matt Roe we looked to explore making festivals and touring more accessible for parents and carers. In the Fringe’s Artist Hub within the beautiful Quaker Meeting House in the heart of Edinburgh’s old town, we welcomed Creative Scotland, Charter Partners from all over the UK and freelance artists from as far away as New Zealand. 

Amongst our Partners who attended were Dance Base who presented strategies that they have implemented when receiving companies within their award-winning Fringe Programmes. These included open communication with the Festival Producer and in-house Production Manager who could together consult a technical technician if required. 

National Theatre of Scotland talked through lessons learned from their case study of touring with children (don’t forget about car seats!). This case study is available to all Charter Partners within the PiPA resources. 

Also in attendance at the event was a Freelance Opera singer Rachael Brimley [pictured below] who talked through a first-hand account of what it was like to work and go on tour with a three-month-old baby. It’s safe to say the challenges were extensive! 

Problems, solutions, strategies and considerations around what the future could look like were at the heart of this accessible event - which included childcare provision, freelancer bursaries and BSL interpreters.  

We look forward to sharing future findings and will continue to develop discussions and events around touring and festival work for those with caring responsibilities. 

Further Reading

Inspired by the recent UK Touring Symposium as well as our ongoing Best Practice Research Project we have been reflecting on solutions that may support parents/ carers to continue touring. Read more here. 


Webinar: Building Business Resilience through Effectively Engaging the Freelance Workforce 

If you find this topic interesting then you must tune into our webinar on Wednesday 20th September from 12-1pm: sign up here.

Balancing Act Survey

And if this blog post has resonated with you, don’t forget to fill out the Balancing Act Survey. Together, we can make the performing arts more equal. We need information from everyone who works in the performing arts. Parents, carers, employers and employees. If you have ever felt frustrated with your work-life balance, fill out the survey and let us know how we can make the performing arts more equal.