AMERICAN THEATRE

‘A HAPPY, FULFILLED MOTHER IS A GOOD MOTHER’

LAST DECEMBER AT THE PUBLIC THEATER, THE PARENT ARTIST ADVOCACY LEAGUE hosted an extraordinary gathering of theatre leaders, artists, and academics to share best practices and challenges around support for caregivers in the American theatre. The day of inspiring and informationpacked sessions culminated with a Q&A between Emily Mann, outgoing artistic director and resident playwright of Princeton, N.J.’s McCarter Theatre Center, and Mary Hodges, a New York City-based actor and director. The two spoke about their varied experiences as working parents—both the obstacles they’ve faced and the progress they’ve made in rendering their field more responsive and responsible to parent artists. The following has been edited and condensed for clarity.

MARY HODGES: I’m going to read a quote from an article about you from 2009. You said, “Being a mother definitely made me a better artist, no question about it. You understand the human race by having a child and feeling that much love. It’s just astounding. It affects my writing, my mentoring and my giving to the education department in my raising money, all of it.” Being a mother-artist, reflecting on where you are now, what comes to your mind?

EMILY MANN: I totally agree with myself.

HODGES: Great!

You know, as artists we all work from our experiences and our hearts and our guts and our mind. And until I had a child—I had great love affairs in my life and I also adored my parents, but that love for a child is so particular. And so much of the human race does experience that love in their lives. I felt like I had actually finally joined the party, and I could speak

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