PAAL Podcast (Parent Artist Advocacy League for the Performing Arts)
By Parent Artist Advocacy League for the Performing Arts
A podcast for parents and caregivers in the performing arts. Interviews, essays, obstacles, solutions, humor, art, parenting, creating, staging, advocating, and more. Visit and like our Facebook page:Facebook.com/paalperformingarts 🔥
Guest host and parent artist Tamara Kissane (Artist Soapbox) interviews Erica Lee Haines, PAAL Chief Rep of Nashville, TN. Erica shares her experiences with what changed after baby, the importance of defying arbitrary barriers, and advocating for parent artists in Nashville.
(Learn more about Erica Lee Haines, Nashville artist.)
She talks about the fear that many parent artists feel when engaging with the work because first impressions are everything. Erica joined PAAL because she wanted to "start a bigger conversation that it’s not just for me...it’s for the other parent artists working..." As she puts it answering Tamara's inquiry, for parent artists, "[Our]needs don’t have to make us unemployable."
Citing the Parents in Chicago Theatre Study (PICT) from PAAL Chief Rep of Chicago, Lydia Milman Schmidt, 90% of artists have turned down work due to childcare costs or scheduling. Without support and better opportunities for dialogue, Erica notes that "companies are mission out on fantastic parent artists" and "artists are missing out…on doing what they were meant to do." Citing her biggest heartbreak, Erica has seen many parent artists decide to do something else with their life due to the obstacles.
As a goal for her community, Erica hopes to lead Nashville's PAAL chapter by gathering resources and "creating a community to feel safe and ask for help from your community of members."
In one of their big initiatives, Erica and the Nashville PAAL chapter are are sponsoring audition days and caregiving for some of the Nashville springtime auditions. One of her favorite resources are the PAAL provisions that helps parents advocate for themselves, such as the sample riders to use in your contracts with companies, etc.
PAAL Nashville is also committed to creating "more opportunities for parent artists to create and work with each other." In terms of opportunities to create and work, host Tamara Kissane notes that it "transformed [her] life when I was able to step back in [to theatre]." When Tamara asks Erica for a pro tip to offer a new parent artist, Erica answers, "Learn how to advocate for yourself...a lot of people are willing to help." In her daily life, Erica works as a teacher for her day job. One of her creative solutions has been to barter. She offers lessons to her student in exchange for babysitting hours. She notes, "We are creative people in a creative field. We can find creative solutions…PAAL helps us navigate that and find those creative solutions."
In her own values, Erica hopes to communicate with the PAAL chapter that the community they can create and staying engaged is so important. Her favorite provisions from theatres have included receiving a babysitter list with her resource packet and a box of batteries, which she explains has a beautiful reason that left her feeling seen and supported.
She notes that theatres should look into the childcare grants that PAAL offers to theatre companies. "If a theatre finds out that their theatre staff, 20% need childcare, [providing a fund] is something that they can do."
Erica gives a beautiful and empowering answer when Tamara asks her what her greatest professional accomplishment has been since becoming a parent. Listen to the whole interview to hear and get to know this exciting PAAL chapter happening in Nashville, TN.
Interesting idea that we can show our whole selves to our family and show our whole selves to our industry.
- Tamara Kissane
Off-Broadway producer Roberta Pereira talks RPI Project with PAAL founder Rachel Spencer Hewitt to engage with the work Roberta has established, how the women worked together to generate solutions, and where we go from here. LINKS AND RESOURCES: paaltheatre.com | https://www.playwrightsrealm.org/rpi | broadwaybabysitters.com
PAAL Chief Rep in Chicago Lydia Milman Schmidt sits down with Artistic Director Alice da Cunha of Physical Theatre Festival in Chicago to talk about motherhood, running a festival, and the impact on childcare for events and performances. Listen up! It’s rad.
With a MOTHERHOOD READING SERIES as their festival feature and CHILDCARE ON-SITE via a kids' show in the next room, Philadelphia Women's Theatre Festival co-founders Polly Edelstein and Christine Petrini talk about the philosophy behind creating a theatre model that is both unconventional and accessible. Their mission words are Celebrate and Inclusion - check out why PAAL is thrilled to collaborate with them on this project and ensure that it's replicated! Listen in and learn more at PhillyWomensTheatreFest.org - and check out the MOTHERHOOD READING SERIES Aug 2-5 in Philadelphia by visiting the events on our Facebook page, Facebook.com/paalperformingarts
Ep. 1 - I WILL HOLD YOUR BABY: PAAL founder Rachel Spencer Hewitt interviews Director and PICT founder Lydia Milman Schmidt on babies in the UK vs US, Research on Parent Artists, and Lydia empowering mothers to bring babies into the room. Lydia is also the PAAL Chief Rep in Chicago and PICT - Parents in Chicago Theatre - is the PAAL hub in Chicago. Resources mentioned in the interview: PAALtheatre.com ParentsInChicagoTheatre.org ErasingTheDistance.org DirectorsProgram.YoungVic.org/directors-program