[Past event]

We are collaborating with Sarah Meadows (Director and Mother of two young children) and we would like to invite you to be part of an exciting focus group to help shape a new essential service with the aim of eventually rolling it out across the live performance industries.

We are building a return to work programme for creative freelance parents/carers and would like to hear your responses based on your own experience to few simple provocations to support our next steps of prototyping the programme.

  • When: Wednesday January 18th, 1pm
  • Where: Zoom
  • How long: 1-1.5hrs
  • Contribution to time: £50 to attend this session.
  • If you are interested in being a part of this please complete the simple expression of interest form below with a very brief summary of why you are interested in being a part of this focus group and the first part of your post code by Friday 13th January [now closed]


A table with post it notes of ideas around how to support parents better when on tour.


Theatre Bristol is working with Sarah Meadows and Jesse Meadows to develop and support better networks and provision for freelancers working in theatre both in Bristol and beyond.

Freelance parents/carers have to go back to work much sooner than salaried staff. This is a fact. The financial pressures on creative freelance parent/carers is intense. The implications of having to return to work soon after having a child on your journey as a parent/carer as well as your career are huge. What this means for many is unexplored, misunderstood and unsupported.

We want to begin to take action to address a small but potentially profound part of this issue. We are creating a “return to work” programme focused on bridging this complicated transition. The ultimate aim is this free programme will be taken up by theatres across the UK and ran regularly, free and open to all.


This final programme will ask “who are you now and what do you now need to do your best work?”
This programme would include factual and legal advice on contracts; practical  training in how to discuss your needs as a parent with employers; along with signposting to other supportive agencies and resources. We aim to have confidence and identity coaching, healing spaces and physical recovery and networking with other creative freelance parent/carers on the same journey. We are also looking at bespoke add ons to support the specific needs of the different jobs within our sector.

Sarah who is leading this project is a director and mother of two young children. Inspired by her own struggles and watching others around her, Sarah set up a support group for parents/carers during Covid and this lead to her taking a role on the Creative UK, Fuel Theatre and Mayor of London’s creative freelancers research team. Sarah worked with PiPA (Parents in Performing Arts) to gather information about the experiences of freelance parents/carers and created a report and series of recommendations that will be rolled out through institutions across the UK. The idea for the project came from this inquiry. Sarah is also exploring these themes in her creative work and is an Artist in Residence at Arts Depot developing a baby show – but for parents/carers creating a healing narrative.


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