My Speech in The Abbey -UNCUT!

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Tara Derrington, mother, director and MAM founder spoke at One More Thing, the Waking the Feminist Event in The Abbey Theatre on 14th November 2016.

As there were so many amazing speakers, time was at a premium and speakers were told that their piece should last no longer than 90 seconds. As a result, and after some discussion with WTFs about the content of the MAM speech, some cuts were made to our final draft. Myself and the speechwriting team: Charlotte Harrison, Emma Lowe, Emma Mc Ivor, Fiona Browne, Hazel Katherine Larkin, Oonagh Mc Laughlin, Pamela Mc Queen, Sarah Fitzgibbon and Susie Lamb wanted you all to see the original piece which was written to the 300 word limit advised by WTFs. In telling our story and our vision for a family friendly theatre world of the future, we could easily have written twice as much again!

Tara holds a placard which reads:


A year ago I stood outside this theatre holding this sign.

People took photographs of it but no one talked. A year ago motherhood wasn’t on the agenda.

Today, I’m on the stage, representing 300 female theatre practitioners across Ireland who make up MAM – Mothers Artists Makers.

Inspired by #WakingTheFeminists, we’ve united to highlight issues of domestic isolation, marginalisation, and the disproportionate impact of parenting on the salaries of mothers who work in theatre.

MAMs surveyed average four and a half years third level training; and 16 years paid practice each.

After having children, over half our members surveyed lost ALL their income from theatre. 95% of the rest suffered reduced incomes. This makes theatre unsustainable for MAMs.

Solutions can include childcare. We also need choice: some parents at home for a month. Others need 20 years. However long it takes, we seek structured dignified pathways back to our careers,, which recognise that maturity is a strength, and parenting brings a powerful new dimensions to our practice.

FringeLab, The Abbey Theatre, Project Arts Centre, The Lyric Theatre , Rough Magic, Smock Alley, O’Reilly Theatre, Fishamble, Baboró, Town Hall Theatre, The Mac, The Mermaid Arts Centre and the Grainstore – by hosting our workshops – you make us visible again.

#WakingTheFeminists, by changing the time of this event to accommodate us, you embraced family-friendly practice. Sympathetic scheduling is MAM’s equivalent of a wheelchair ramp and ensure equal accessibility.

Is your theatre making family friendly?

54% of Irish women are mothers. MAM believes the major cause of gender imbalance in theatre is the exodus of women when they have children. This isn’t Mother Theatre ensuring survival of her fittest. It’s the loss of some of our brightest and best due to the unequal care burden on women. The ONE THING that is most unresolved in Feminism today? Motherhood.

(Picking up sign) A year ago I asked you to “Remember Us”

All MAMs in auditorium stand

Today, we are here.

All: Mothers. Artists. Makers.


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