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‘Mother, he says, ‘go back up into your quarters, and take up your own work, the loom and the distaff…speech will be the business of men, all men, and of me most of all; for mine is the power in this household.’ And off she goes, back upstairs.’ Historian Mary Beard1, cites The Odyssey to elucidate the status of mothers at the beginning of written evidence of western culture.

“Relaxed performances are fundamentally an invitation,” says David Bellwood, the Globe’s access manager. “At Shakespeare’s Globe we have two radically democratic spaces, but democracies

can only function when no person is barred from contributing. In hosting a relaxed performance we’re acknowledging that all people, in their wonderful variety, have a right to engage with our plays.”2

The Motherhood Penalty: is a term coined by sociologists who argue that in the workplace, working mothers encounter systematic disadvantages in pay, perceived competence and benefits. There are many effects including wages, hiring and promotional penalties. These effects have been documented in over a dozen industrialised nations…including Australia. The penalty has not shown any signs of declining over time.3


Mary Beard, Women and Power, Profile Books, 2017. Go London,, ‘It’s not anarchy, it’s inclusivity: how relaxed performances are opening up theatre.’ 3 Wikipedia, Motherhood penalty. 2


THE MOTHERFESTO Rights, access and inclusion for all mothers to work, participate and contribute to the arts and culture. Lead facilitator/writer: Michelle Hall MOTHERFESTO forum participants and contributors: Liz Skitch, Eva Grace Mullaley, Helen Hristofski, Natalie Bell, Susie Conte, Irene Jarzabek, Cara Phillips, Sankari Sivaramalingum, Katie Keedy, Larissa Pryce, Monique Beaudoire, Michelle Sladden. Additional contributions: Zheela Vokes (CAN) Composition and editing Teresa Izzard

TABLE OF CONTENTS Part One: INTRODUCTION • Mission Statement 4 • Description 4 • How Has the Motherfesto Been Made? 4 • An Outline of the Current Problem 5 • Using the Motherfesto 7 Part Two: PRINICPLES • Recognise 8 • Visible and Valued 9 • Gender Expectations 11 • Children 12 • The Mental Load 13 • Flexibility and Consultation 14 • Financial Barriers 15 Part Three: FURTHER INFORMATION • A Quick Guide to the Barriers 17 • Suggestions and Solutions for Change 19 • Places to find Further Information 20 • Acknowledgements 21


Part One: INTRODUCTION MISSION STATEMENT As part of the global conversation around reproductive rights the Motherfesto seeks to activate cultural and structural change across the arts in workplaces, arts venues and in the wider cultural narrative around mothers and motherhood(s). The Motherfesto aims to identify the barriers to participation for mothers in the arts as well as the prejudices towards mothers implicit within traditional gender roles and expectations. The Motherfesto offers new strategies to change outdated workplace and arts venue practises that inhibit mothers from accessing the arts and/or continuing a professional practise once they have children. The Motherfesto advocates for all arts and cultural spaces to become motherfriendly where mothers are valued in their multifaceted roles as participants, contributors, workers and mothers. We want mothers to be recognised as people beyond traditional gender roles with opportunities for mothers to participate in arts programs beyond those that are child-centres.

DESCRIPTION The Motherfesto is the voices of mothers speaking up about the Motherhood Penalty in the arts and culture and, as mothers readily do, finding solutions and making recommendations to activate cultural change. The Motherfesto explores discrimination, disadvantages, gender expectations and invisibility across motherhood in our society with particular focus on the arts and culture. Importantly, the Motherfesto comes from the lived experiences of mothers as art makers, producers, presenters working and participating in local arts workplaces and venues.

HOW HAS THE MOTHERFESTO BEEN MADE? The Motherfesto was born out of an earlier project called Mothers of Invention: Occupy! which began as a forum at The Blue Room Theatre’s Winter Nights Festival 2019. The forum was a space for mother-artists, producers and presenters to openly discuss the need for increased visibility of motherhood in all its diversity on our stages, screens and in galleries. It was also a safe space to speak out loud about the Motherhood Penalty: discrimination and exploitation in the arts towards mothers due to workplace rules and norms. This document is by no means perfect and it is evolving, like motherhood, so it will change and be reworked overtime as we fold in new learning. 4

AN OUTLINE OF THE CURRENT PROBLEM Over the last ten years as a society we have been shifting between 20 th and 21st century values - ways of thinking, working, relating and recognising each other. Mothers have been changing and the society around us has been slow to catch up. In 2019, mothers still do the majority of childcaring in Australia. In 2019, 53% of mothers also work 4and 1 in 4 is the main ‘bread winner’ in an Australian family. Our society conflates the role of womanhood and motherhood – women are expected to ‘mother’, to nurture and be devoted to the work of serving our children and partners. At the same time, most mothers are expected and want to provide an income for our families. While partners are more engaged in family duties than in the past, for many mothers, traditional gender roles still dominate the way home and work function and our presumptions around who-should-do-what. Who is supporting the mothers? Deeply entrenched gender expectations mean that many mothers are expected to hold the dual roles of nurturer and provider. The traditional gender role of ‘mother’ is to be kind, patient, loving, devoted, submissive even and available 24/7 to the needs of our partners, children and extended family. Further, to organise the household, the family schedule and for many of us to teach partners to clean, cook, care for babies and children, resolve conflict and coach them emotionally (partners and kids) so we can go out to work. ❖ Mothers work 77 hours a week – 20 hours of paid work, 30 hours household work and 27 hours childcare ❖ Fathers work 75 hours a week – 41 hours of paid work, 16 hours of household work and 13 hours childcare Dividing the Work – Australian Government, Australian Institute of Family Studies 2019 Many mothers I have spoken with have shared their experience of a birth trauma, loss of a pregnancy or baby, medical neglect in childbirth and post-natal anxiety and depression as a result of social isolation, family conflict and financial stress. The fact of maternity and mental health issues in motherhood is mostly hidden in our workplaces and culture. Yet the statistics of one in six mothers experiencing PND/PNA means we are all close to someone who is suffering. It is not often that you will hear mothers speak freely about the hardship of managing family, partner conflict and work stresses, out loud. My experience is that mothers will be diplomatic and soften their language, they will try to be ‘fair’ and often they will blame themselves for not continuing their artistic career.


ABS – Australian Bureau of Statistics.


“I ‘forget’ to say I’m a single mum” “I take off my wedding ring and pretend I don’t have kids” To say out loud that the situation is difficult and even to ask to talk about alternatives, for mothers, can have the consequence of losing your job, of not getting the next freelance contract, of having to argue with your partner and subsequent disharmony at home. Mothers will do everything they can, including staying quiet and putting up with ‘their lot’, to keep children safe, the family-home functional and their job secure. And this comes at a price to mothers themselves. ‘Many women report feeling they have to make their motherhood invisible to their employers, from pumping breastmilk in a toilet to writing ‘meeting’ in the calendar instead of ‘school run’. Women fear being overlooked for promotion or being seen as unreliable. Motherhood can often feel a taboo word in professional spaces.’ Matilda Leyser and Lizzy Humber, Mothers Who Make.


USING THE MOTHERFESTO ‘We believe it is the role of the arts to ask difficult questions about society.’ Lizzy Humber and Matilda Leyser, Mothers Who Make. The Motherfesto is about empowering mothers in the arts and culture sector to speak up about the inequities of gendered work and family environments. Crucially, the Motherfesto, as an artist-led movement seeks support for mother-artists to tell their stories of 21st century motherhood. To build a new understanding of who mothers are and what motherhood is about in the present day. The Motherfesto is creativity in action, it is mother artists celebrating their multitasking, imaginative thinking capabilities by rehearsing different ways of being an artist and a mother. It is mother artists stepping into the unknown and trialling new ideas for sharing the load of parent, worker, artist and participant. It is mothers recreating culture and seeding the soil for their children’s future. The Motherfesto can be used as a tool to start the conversation around the barriers and the solutions for mothers in the arts and culture sector. You might start with one section, for example THE MENTAL LOAD as a way of addressing Health and Safety in your workplace or you might workshop the section on VISIBLE & VALUED to review the inclusion of motherhood as content in your programming and discuss how you might create a development with a child care provision to enable mother artists to make work. An example of the Motherfesto in action is with Spare Parts Puppet Theatre (SPPT). Under the leadership of Natalie Bell, Exec Producer and mother, SPPT have reviewed their Diversity Staff Survey and now include Primary Carer of a Child as a status that recognises the challenges for working parents in the arts.


Part Two: PRINCIPLES RECOGNISE Mothers bring sophisticated skills to your organisation “I have experienced being underestimated and written off in terms of my professional capacity [because I am a mother]” “We are really good at teaching and managing…we need to make motherhood and mothers visible and celebrate these skills” Mothers are: •

Great Diplomats: negotiators, conflict resolution experts, optimists, policy developers

Supreme Managers: time managers extraordinaire, multi-tasking fiends that thrive on results; prioritising experts with dedication and endurance (the work of a mother continues through the night)

Practical Task Masters: inventive, resourceful, problemsolvers, seat-of-the-pants crisis response team!

Interpersonal Sophisticates: excellent listeners, empathic, emotionally-literate, sensitive, inclusive

Democratic Leaders: we can lead the way on integrating women, children and families in the artistic outcomes of your organisation

“It really opened my eyes. I loved the friendships you form with other mothers, the solidarity-formed groups…”


VISIBLE & VALUED Mothers and motherhood(s)5 are part of a bigger story “I put in an application for a show about loss and the feedback was that it would alienate women who didn’t want to have children.” “It is frustrating that there is a feeling that “motherhood” is not a worthy theme for exploration – a sense that is has been done.” •

Acknowledge that there are not enough stories about motherhood in the public domain. There is a lack of authentic voices and contemporary perspectives on the experience of loneliness, isolation, loss, joy and the transformation of identity in motherhood.

Ask the questions of your board/staff – who are the people making decisions about funding and programming the stories we want to tell?

Find out how many events in the last 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 2 years, 5 years have featured motherhood(s) as content and how many of these have been created, produced and presented by mothers in partnership with your organisation?

Invite mothers to program events and curate seasons so that cultural content reflects our ever changing, multifaceted, contemporary experiences. Consult with a diverse range of mothers to make participation in the arts accessible and relevant for mothers and their children.

Champion returning – whether this be returning after having children or another extended absence, give your existing mother-talent reasons to return.

Employ positive discrimination – create initiatives that enable mothers to make work for example: Creative development programs with a childcare provision and/or a child friendly environment where mothers can bring their kids with them – offer choice! Program a season of Motherhood(s) where the multiplicities of Motherhood(s) are featured and authored by mother artists. For example, the Actors Centre London has programmed A Season of Motherhoods which offers funding and support for mother artists to develop and present new work. See Suggestions for more examples of organisations worldwide who are already implementing this strategy.


Motherhood(s). Motherhood exists in terms of multiplicities. Historically, society has conflated the role of womanhood with motherhood. Using the term motherhood(s) disentangles these socially solidified preconceptions. Source: London Actors Centre, 2019.


Feature mother-artists in your seasonal content and ensure you offer opportunities for iterations of motherhood(s) to be created and platformed in every season and that this material is made by mothers.

Adapt production budgets to include family touring costs – support families to stay together rather than separate due to touring. We know that separations have a detrimental effect on families, especially if the mother is the primary care giver.

“Through telling the stories, through sharing the stories we are more visible” “All the stories have not been told yet”


GENDER EXPECTATIONS See the person first, embrace the motherhood “There is a lot of judgement by society…” “My mother-in-law says, ‘I just got on with it’. When in fact the new generation is evolving and acknowledging that ‘just getting on with it’ by making personal sacrifices to become a Betty Crocker style mum does not work in the long run.” “We need to share what ‘getting on with it’ means.” •

Mothers often experience a loss of identity, status and agency in motherhood. This is can be caused by conscious and subconscious assumptions around gender roles and inequities in representation. Representation in the workplace, at home and in wider society. (See Financial Barriers)

Mothers are ‘trying to break new ground’, to shift entrenched stereotypes, expectations of roles and power dynamics. Be mindful of assumptions around mothers being able to reverse socially entrenched gender roles. These challenges are happening at home for many mothers too and add to the global experience of oppression through gender roles and expectations.

Mothers and motherhoods(s) attract binary language for example natural/unnatural mother, working/stay-at-home, good mum/bad mother (often this is implied) so disentangle this language in your workplace and programming.

Mothers are presumed to be the carers and are often looking after not just children but elders as well. Try not to assume that family support is available to mothers.

“I had to teach John to cook so he could look after the kids…”


CHILDREN The opportunity to grow alongside your child “Looking through the prism of what’s the best thing for the child – at the end of every mother is a child” “I want to be able to see work [with my children] ... as well as make work” •

Be aware of the spaces in your venue/event and ensure you have a baby change facility, a comfortable space for mothers to breastfeed their infants or breastfeeding room, pram parking spaces and ramps.

Draft a Child Safe-Child Friendly policy to make sure your staff understand the rights of children to be welcomed and provided for as participants of equal standing in the arts and culture.

Change the way your organisation thinks about mothers and children. Set meetings between school hours, not at school drop-off and pick-up times.

Allow mothers to have a desk for their child next to their own, children can rest/work/play alongside them after school hours. This has been successfully implemented by Eva Grace Mullaley AD of Yirra Yaakin Theatre, where her daughter sits next to her in the company office after school hours.

Ring Fence school holidays. Add school holiday dates to every diary and enforce a rule to keep key major company meetings or events away from these periods so mothers and children (families) can take time off together.

Program in a mother friendly way o Relaxed Performances. At least one per run of each production. This is truly inclusive practise and welcomes people with autism, babies, dementia sufferers. This is the future of the arts, so get started now, your funding depends on it! There are loads of venues doing it around the globe.

Communicate with Mothers Who Make (Perth Hub) who will coordinate a calendar of Mother Friendly venues and events - make sure your organisation has something to offer! (See Equality in Action)

“When I became a mother I suddenly realised I wasn’t welcome here [in theatres] and neither was my baby, there were no spaces I felt we could set down and be ourselves, nor was there anything in the program that catered for us or reflected our lives. I’m not a ‘mum n bub’, I’m a mother and an artist. Don’t relegate me to playgroups and rhyme time!”


THE MENTAL LOAD Supporting the supporters “Guilt. As a single parent the person I fight most in my life with is my daughter. Mum why do you have to go away? Mum why do you have to work?” “Reflecting on Michelle’s show6 last night the thing that struck me and reminded me of my own births…it reminded me of my sense of loneliness. Going back in time there was a sense of community around motherhood and that would have helped…” •

Understand. Separation can be stressful and the extended hours of art making and producing can mean that mothers have to be apart from their children frequently and/or for long periods of time which can affect our mental health. Offer a supportive outlook towards us rather than the expectation that we will just ‘deal with it’ as ‘our lot’.

Hold space for mothers in your workplace to make it through the immensely challenging time of new motherhood, caring for an infant and often other children on very little sleep. We try our best, but sometimes we crash from sleep deprivation, this is a human response, not a weakness in our ability to perform at work.

Support mother’s wellbeing – be aware of the stigmas that enshroud maternity and mental health. Mothers indicated a reluctance to admit or talk about the stress of juggling their careers in the arts and culture for fear of loss of work, judgements by their peers and doubts about their professional capacity.

Engage. Catch up and join the global conversation around reproductive rights! Mothers/women may have lost a baby, had a pregnancy termination, miscarriages, infertility issues. Much of this is experienced and endured silently by women – we have a two and a half thousand-year tradition of silencing mothers (see Mary Beard’s pivotal work Women and Power).

Be aware. Motherhood is not always a choice. In many cultural groups having children is an expectation of the family or religion around the woman. Sometimes women become pregnant against their will or by accident – talk about this with your team so you see a whole person, not a gender stereotype.

Research. Become informed about Perinatal & Post Natal DepressionAnxiety (PND & PNA) and know that it effects 1 in 5 mothers. You can find more information here…

Create opportunities for the experiences of maternity and mental health to be explored and performed by offering grants, development programs and platforms for mothers to make work about this hidden away issue.


Performance was of The Dirty Mother by Michelle Hall, at The Blue Room Theatre, Winter Nights Festival, 2019, Perth, Australia.


FLEXIBILITY & CONSULTATION A right for all mothers “Power is given to the stakeholders, your boss, in-laws, parents, partner…there is an expectation of your behaviour and identity as a mother…” “Flexibility is not just about motherhood, it is about community and responding to community, the rigid 9am-5pm way of working isn’t for everyone!” “The culture of fear for parent artists is propagated by many factors, one of them being the inconsistency of policy between employers and institutions and another being the silence surrounding existing family-friendly policies within institutions.” Rachel Spencer Hewit, Parent Artist Advocacy League (PALL). •

Negotiate working hours and contracts through genuine consultation with mothers. Flexibility to match the person and the mother.

Make space for mothers to feel safe to speak with you honestly about addressing their responsibilities at work and home (e.g. childcare, working hours, financial responsibilities, workload) without fear of losing their jobs or being overlooked for job opportunities. See Rachel Hewit’s article No Money for Real Change in Further Information.

Be accountable! Publish data around how many flexible work requests are submitted and granted and how many mothers leave your organisation when they have kids.

Consult with mothers in your organisation. Regarding maternity clauses – include the mother in the conversation so you can create an agreement that works best for all and minimises stress on the mother and infant(s).

Include partners in Maternity Entitlements. If an employee is a partner of a birth mother, make sure leave/pay entitlements are available to them also.

“They have started realising not to put me in meetings at 3.15pm!” Eva Grace Mullaley, Artistic Director, Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company. “I want to know what worked for artists in terms of how we structure rehearsal schedules – this is what we want to hear, Monique Beaudoire, former Development Director, Black Swan State Theatre Company.


FINANCIAL BARRIERS “There is a perceived risk by producers to employ mothers and concerns about the impact it may have…” “As a freelance teaching artist there is no way I can afford childcare, I rely entirely on playdate swaps or on the workplace allowing me to bring my child to work. This is often stressful and embarrassing, to rely on the charity of others and to admit that the hard work I am doing in the arts doesn’t pay enough to enable me to continue my practise. “ Some background Information about women working in the arts. NB: there is currently no research or studies published on mothers working in the arts and their income in Australia.

• • • • • • • •

Average Australian wage in 2019 $82, 436.00 Average wage of an Arts Worker $48, 400 (2015 – stats suggest it may be lower in 2019) 78% of Arts & Cultural Community Workers, Arts Administrators, Teaching Artists are women 1 in 7 is a mother with dependent children Cost for one child for a full day in childcare $110.00 Average payment for a freelance teaching artist per day is $240.00 Average payment for a freelance performer varies $238.69-266.99 per day Women artists earned 32% less than men overall and 44% less for their creative work

Sources: 1. ABC News Investigations. Journalist: Meredith Griffiths. 2. Equity Australia.


54,000 WOMEN are pushed out of their jobs each year due to maternity leave 77% of working mothers have experienced negative or discriminatory treatment at work 40% of employers have said they would avoid hiring a woman of childbearing age 44% of working mothers say they earn less than before they had children


Child-care costs vs financial return. Many mothers, particularly independent artists, freelance artists, part-time and lower paid employed arts workers either cannot afford to pay for childcare and struggle to yield an income from their work in the arts.

Stress for mothers and children is often increased by relying on family, friends and neighbours to help with childcare – often the ‘support network’ around the mother places ‘conditions’ on the ‘help’ leaving the mother embedded in very stressful personal situations that disempower her.

Short term contracts. Many mothers who are arts workers, artists, arts educators and producers switch to short term contracts so they can care for their young children. Over time the insecure employment and income of short-term contracts lead to many mothers dropping out of the arts altogether.

Pay – with freelance arts work when you submit invoices you are often waiting up to a month to be paid. If you’ve got a child-care bill to pay, it’s impossible, especially on low wages. “Quell the vicious cycle of trying to get re-employed after absences. After a mother has maternity/carers leave, she then has to upskill and that costs further and becomes another economic burden to bear.” Zheela Vokes, CAN



Financial barriers – childcare costs vs financial return

Perceived risk by producers to employ mothers

Separation of families due to the current demands of touring protocols, inflexible working hours, workplaces that don’t welcome and integrate children into their culture

Overlooking the skills, strengths and stories mothers can bring to their work and participation in the arts and culture

Invisibility – a lack of authentic stories from the diverse spectrum of mothers and motherhood(s). Virtually nil programming on motherhood(s)

Lack of funding and lack of affordable spaces to make work and present work

Resistance by arts organisations to program stories and events about mothers and motherhood(s) – seen as either irrelevant to non-mothers, too niche, or alienating and offensive to some other groups

Obligations and commitments at home and a lack of community support

Power given to stakeholders – bosses, in-laws, parents, partners

Expectation of your behaviour and identity at work – See the Mother Penalty

Hours of work vs opening hours of childcare opening times

Guilt/emotional load from having to separate from children to work long hours or tour

Low status of children – i.e. they are not given equal standing in society and are overlooked in terms of directly connected to the well-being of mothers

Rigid rehearsal schedules

Lack of consultation with mother-creatives, presenters, producers, arts workers, administrators, audience members, participants

Absence of accessible, adult-centred arts events for mothers with babies or younger children – virtually no ‘Babes-in-Arms’ options. NB: we don’t always want to see kids shows and we don’t stop wanting/needing to see theatre about the world once we have a baby! In fact, we need it even more.



Nil development programs, grants, creative opportunities specifically for mothers, either on the subject of Motherhood(s) or for mother-artists where specific needs are acknowledged (caring responsibilities etc)


Lack of mothers engaged by company boards and governing bodies speaking out for the experience and needs of mothers to participate in the arts and culture.


Maternity/Paternity leave and entitlements for partners not offered by their organisation



Working Double Time – Many work 9am-5pm out of habit yet are in contact with work from earlier until later. We need to try different ways of working, like two people sharing 7am-3pm and 2.30pm-9pm, covering the whole day while being able to spend time at home.

Consider longer, part-time rehearsal periods so mothers can build in childcare commitments. E.g. Next Door But One company and Aboo Theatre (UK) have adapted rehearsal scheduling to accommodate mothers and childcare responsibilities. Big Fat Theatre Company (UK) offer childcare costs paid for, for mothers attending auditions. See info section to find their contacts.

Initiate Inverse Mentoring – ensure everyone is mentored by, and mentors, someone from a different stage of life to open up understanding of the realities of being a working mother and mother-artist.

Invite mothers, partners, elders and children to form Family Boards who regularly meet with senior teams. Ask them to discuss how much more effective their employees might be by working in different ways.

Job sharing, flexible hours around care commitments and school hours, working from home options

Equality in Action: Make Mother Friendly Spaces – Update the ‘norms’ of your venue, event and organisation and welcome mothers and their families. Install the following: o o o o o

Baby change facility Breastfeeding/expressing spaces (not a disabled toilet!) Pram parking spaces Relaxed Performances Support Mothers Who Make Perth Hub (MWM) by inviting our community to openings, forums, working groups and boards.

Join the Mother Friendly listing - Mothers Who Make Perth will be compiling a list of venues, events, organisations in-line with the criteria established by the international Mothers Who Make movement. The listing is for those that have demonstrated support for parent artists, especially mothers. This could include opportunities for mother-artists with childcare provisions, programming relaxed performances or shows about motherhood(s) and child friendly workplaces. We will promote your organisation with the MWM award symbol next to your organisation’s name.


PLACES TO FIND FURTHER INFORMATION Pregnant Then Screwed – an advocacy group that provides information for mothers and organisations on workplace rights for mothers and maternity leave entitlements and legislature. PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Association MWM Mothers Who Make – an international peer support network for mother artists - professional or passionate. Any kind of mother and any kind of maker is welcome. **NEW** Mothers Who Make Perth Hub – a monthly peer support session and workshop at The Blue Room Theatre. Also, a closed Facebook group and public Facebook page. Contact: Michelle Hall to let us know about programs, events, seasons with something to offer mother-artists and their families. Melbourne Institute (Household Income and Labour Dynamics Survey) PAAL Parent Artist Advocacy League – a league of individuals and institutions dedicated to elevating the national standard of support for parent artists and caregivers MAMS Mother Artist Makers Ireland PAAL Family Friendly Organisations Award WIKIPEDIA ‘The Mother Penalty’"statu s_of_choice" Motherhouse Studios: The procreate project, UK


RECENT ARTICLES ON INCLUSIVITY IN THE ARTS “How to Talk to A Pregnant Woman” “No Money for Real Change” Rachel Spencer Hewitt Howlround – Where are the Disappeared Women of The Theatre? ‘It’s not anarchy, it’s inclusivity’: How relaxed performances are opening up theatre Solutions II Motherhood in Theatre: Part 4 MOTHERHOOD IN AUSTRALIAN THEATRE (as made by mothers) Cracked, produced by Yirra Yaakin Theatre. Written by Barbara Hostalek and directed by Eva Grace Mullaley at the Subiaco Arts Centre, Perth 2019. Mothermorphosis, written and performed by Liz Skitch, directed by Maude Davey. Produced by deBase Theatre, at La Mama, Melbourne 2019. The Dirty Mother, written, directed and performed by Michelle Hall with collaboration from Danielle Cresp, Liz Skitch and Susie Conte. Produced with The Blue Room Theatre as part of the Winter Nights, Ground Up! development program, 2019 and Summer Nights as part of FringeWorld 2020. yDrY2WzhI THEATRES IN PERTH WITH REGULAR RELAXED PERFORMANCES Spare Parts Puppet Theatre (SPPT) Awesome Arts Festival (offers a variety of performances for specific needs) Barking Gecko Theatre


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The Motherfesto is a collective effort, here’s who helped. Thanks Mothers of Invention: Occupy! This Motherfesto was born from our conversations and I’m grateful for your stories and your time (which I know is scant). Thanks to Helen Hristofski of Barking Gecko Theatre who has thrown me a dozen ladders – connecting me with useful people and backing me on this Odyssey. Thanks to The Blue Room Theatre - Harriet Roberts and Julian Hobba – for listening and helping to amplify the voices of mothers in the arts. Thank you to Teresa Izzard of Feet First Collective for collaborating on the writing and construction of the Motherfesto. Thanks to Susie Conte of Tempest Theatre for solidarity and supportive conversations and for showing up and mucking in with myriad tasks, big and small. Thanks to Irene Jarzabek of Black Swan State Theatre Company for spreading the word. Thanks to Liz Skitch for being a dazzling comrade, MC and co-facilitator of the Mothers of Invention: Occupy! forum. Thanks to Eva Grace Mullaley of Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company for jumping on board and for her ‘I’m just doing it’ swagger. Cheers to Natalie Bell of Spare Parts Puppet Theatre for being the first arts leader to implement the Motherfesto in the workplace. Thanks to Zheela Vokes from Community Arts Network who brought the Motherfesto to the Diversity Working Group for workshopping and for your great insights too. Thanks in advance to Shaheen Hughes of the Museum of Freedom and Tolerance who is building the Motherfesto website 2020. Coming soon! Thanks to Naomi West, freelance arts writer, for fine editing and solidarity in the suburbs! Thanks to the mothers who talked with me in car parks, foyers, streets and parks about their motherhood experiences. All I had to do was say I was writing a Motherfesto and the stories poured forth. The safety of a private conversation is sacred for us because still there are many spaces where it’s risky to tell our truths. THANKS Hellen Hall, Murray Hall, Max Miles-Hall and Ed for grammar-nouse. Everyone was helping in some way so I could get-on-with-it!


Thanks to Matilda Leyser and Lizzy Humber and Mothers Who Make International for your encouragement, knowledge and for reaching back out to me. Your support and community are a great motivator. ŠMichelle Hall 2019.


Profile for Michelle Hall

The Motherfesto: Rights, access and inclusion for all mothers in the arts and culture.  

The Motherfesto is the voices of mothers speaking up about the Motherhood Penalty in the arts and culture and, as mothers readily do, findin...

The Motherfesto: Rights, access and inclusion for all mothers in the arts and culture.  

The Motherfesto is the voices of mothers speaking up about the Motherhood Penalty in the arts and culture and, as mothers readily do, findin...


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