At Theatre Hullabaloo, one of our core values is that ‘children are at the heart of everything we do’. We create opportunities for families to play and enjoy spending time together through our programme of theatre shows, our Creative Play space and events throughout the year in The Hullabaloo
At Theatre Hullabaloo, one of our core values is that ‘children are at the heart of everything we do’. We create opportunities for families to play and enjoy spending time together through our programme of theatre shows, our Creative Play space and events throughout the year in The Hullabaloo. We understand the many challenges facing families, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and so we are committed to supporting working parents and carers. As a team with several mini members (and more on the way!) we know all too well the balancing act that is the life of a working parent, and the unexpected twists and turns of family life. We also know that our fantastic team are incredibly dedicated and always go above and beyond whenever they can, so we aim to repay that commitment with trust, flexibility and support.
And it’s not just about our team members with children. We know that people have all kinds of different responsibilities outside of work, and we believe that happy, healthy employees are key to helping us deliver our magical Hullabaloo programme effectively, so cultivating a positive culture where all staff feel supported in whatever way they need is fundamental to achieving this. We’re in the process of reviewing our flexible working policies to reflect our new way of working, post-Covid and we’ve recently signed up to the Parents & Carers in Performing Arts (PiPA) Charter to help us evaluate and develop our policies and practices and enable us to support our employees with caring responsibilities as far as we possibly can.
We really want to build on the positive adaptations we’ve made in the last year, as we gradually return to our office in The Hullabaloo and face our ‘new normal’. We’ve learned a lot about the way we work over the last 18 months or so, and recognise that everyone has different needs when it comes to working effectively. Some of us missed the buzz and companionship of the office, while others found that working from home enabled them to focus on tasks that needed a bit of peace and quiet. So we’ve asked the team to tell us what they need, and like many organisations, we’re adopting a hybrid remote/office working approach to try and carry forward the positive changes we’ve already made, and continue to reflect on our working practices and respond to our team’s needs. We signed up to the Breathe Culture pledge earlier this year as part of our commitment to our team.
It’s been a difficult 18 months for everyone, for many different reasons; closing the building last year saw some of the team furloughed, while some of us were juggling home-schooling alongside work. There were some positives to come out of the enforced closure; not being busy with the delivery of our day-to-day programme gave us the opportunity to direct our energies into shaping our new strategic plan. This gave us a valuable chance to pause and reflect as a team on our organisational values and the direction we want to take Theatre Hullabaloo as we move forward. We also developed and distributed our brilliant Baby Play Packs as a way to reach out to families with babies born in lockdown who, ordinarily, we would have been welcoming to the Hullabaloo. But as we all know, the impact of the pandemic on the nation’s mental health has been significant, and we knew it was important to help our team to take care of their wellbeing in these strange times and beyond. Offering flexible working allows staff to cut down on lengthy commutes, and to make time for exercise, rest and play. We have an appointed Mental Health First Aider and line managers are encouraged to have regular check-ins with their teams, to help us spot any issues and act on them quickly.
When it comes to creating opportunities and growing our fantastic Hullabaloo team, we aim to offer flexible working wherever possible, balancing the needs of the organisation and our audiences and visitors to the Hullabaloo with the needs of the team who support and deliver our work. We know that even pre-Covid, the cost of childcare presented a significant barrier for parents returning to the workplace after a period of parental leave, and we are committed to creating genuinely flexible and secure part-time opportunities which can be worked around childcare and other caring responsibilities. We also recently became an accredited Living Wage Employer. We’re keen to support our team in their career development so they can bring their best to the table and help us deliver on our ambitions for the organisation. Our people are our biggest and most valuable resource, so taking care of them is of the utmost importance, in order to enable us to continue to develop and deliver our magical programme for our visiting Hullabaloo families, who we’ve missed so much over the last 18 months. Seeing babies, children and their grown ups starting to return to the building to meet and play together has made us all very happy, and we want to keep it that way!
To find out more about National Work Life Week (11th-15th October 2021), visit Working Families | National Work Life Week – Working Families
Cath Robson, Operations Director, Theatre Hullabaloo