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PiPA publishes findings on the impact of COVID on parents & carers in the Performing Arts

An online survey, conducted by PiPA in June 2020, highlighted the vulnerability of parents and carers in the performing arts. Women, solo parents and carers, as well as those facing other kinds of social exclusion were highlighted as the most vulnerable.

The aim of this second PiPA survey, conducted in October 2020, was to gain a deeper insight into the extent to which caring responsibilities during Covid, when combined with other protected characteristics and/or economic disadvantage, lead to increased challenges and further marginalisation of these already under-represented groups.


The whole population is affected by Covid but the performing arts has been hit particularly hard. Data from the ONS in August 2020 found that 51% of Arts workers have been furloughed compared to 13% across the whole country. Figures released by BECTU in August 2020 estimated over 7,000 performing arts workers have been made redundant plus thousands of freelancers, zero hours workers and fixed term contract workers left without any income in the theatre sector alone.

  1. One in four women are doing 90% or more of the childcare and are struggling to work or to seek work. The pressure of school and nursery closures combined with lack of job opportunities in the performing arts is impacting women’s well-being and causing them to rethink their careers. Women are 50% more likely than men to be uncertain about their futures in the performing arts
  2. Talent haemorrhage: seven out of ten parents and carers (72%) are considering abandoning their career in the performing arts.
  3. D/deaf and disabled respondents or those with a long-term health condition are twice as likely to have taken on full-time caring responsibilities (doing 80% or more of the childcare) due to the pandemic. They are also the least satisfied with Government support with many not qualifying for SEISS freelance support scheme because they have tended to work fewer hours.
  4. Mental health crisis: Eight out of ten respondents reported significant stress due to the pandemic with over one-third of women with caring responsibilities reporting that they are overwhelmed or in fight or flight mode. Almost half (45%) of D/deaf and disabled respondents class themselves as ‘really stressed’ or in ‘fight or flight’ mode.
  5. Financial pressures and work challenges: Work has collapsed, with nearly 60% of respondents now working fewer than eight hours a week, compared to only 7% before Covid. Childcare responsibilities mean that it is much harder to be available for what few work opportunities come up. 80% of respondents were wholly or partly self-employed: many failed to qualify, or only qualified for a small amount of SEISS support, frequently this was because of having taken a period of maternity leave or reduced working hours due to care responsibilities.

You can download and read the entire PiPA Report from the ‘downloads’ section at the bottom of this page.