Award Winner: tutti frutti productions

cr. Brian Slater
cr. Brian Slater

As we gear up for the next lot of Fantastic for Families awards, we’re shining a spotlight on last year’s well deserved winners.

Last year tutti frutti productions were the winners of a new category, Best Family-Friendly Workplace. Here we hear from their Artistic Director, Wendy Harris:

Tutti frutti makes my family feel like an inspiration for my work rather than a hindrance.  Tutti’s support and understanding of life of working with young families is like a breath of fresh air, from understanding  school holidays to kids getting ill, to simply asking how the kids are’ Kate Bunce Designer

Tutti frutti were surprised and delighted to have won the Best Family-Friendly Workplace award at the Family Arts awards ceremony in early 2017.

Families come in all shapes and sizes and this is something we very much try to reflect in our productions so that all children can relate to the wide range of stories we present to them. How then can we sustain this value in our work but also in our workplace?

Many artists and individuals who work in arts organisations face the struggle of looking after dependants be that children or elderly parents.  They are often in roles that are not highly paid and have demands on their time outside of normal working hours. As a company that specialises in making work for children and families it’s important to us that our teams and staff feel they’re able to care for their dependants and children.

At tutti frutti we strive with the resources we have to accommodate these challenges.

Most importantly we encourage a supportive culture in the organisation, so eyes do not roll as someone leaves the office to collect children from the child minder or a call comes in to work from home as a child is poorly. Taking an interest in peoples’ families makes them feel relaxed, valued and that their particular needs are being considered.

We don’t expect staff to work beyond their contracted hours and we actively discourage a culture, often found in art organisations, of ‘the longer hours you work the better you are at your job’.   By sticking to contracted hours people are harder working and more efficient in their role.

tutti frutti - Rapunzel
cr. Peter Byrne

In practical ways we offer laptops, the ability to work from home and flexible working , if this is helpful to staff who can then   plan around  both their work and family needs. This results in a super committed team.

We listen to the needs of staff and on the occasion where they have to work after hours (such as a Board meeting) we will discuss childcare options and offer help if needed.

Supporting our artists is much more difficult as they have the extra challenge of freelance work, being away from home and sometimes touring. We give our production artists the opportunity to work flexibly during rehearsal periods, to manage their time but allow them also to be home if they need to. We discuss the schedule together and work out options.  We also pre plan meetings well in advance and work on a ‘no surprises basis’ so that time can be planned. We discuss the locations of meetings and try and accommodate what works best for people and not just assume they can be anywhere at any time, Facetime and Skype are great tools for this too. We enquire about childcare arrangements and offer help with this if needed. Children are welcome in rehearsal rooms if that is an option that works for a freelance production artist.

We actively encourage artists to come and work with us after becoming new parents to give them the confidence to remain in the sector.

We believe that all organisations can in some way help and support their staff and freelancers juggle work and family commitments without it being expensive or prohibitive. In our small way we are trying to encourage our artists and core teams to bring and share their family experience into the workplace. This feeds our work for children and families and makes for a better working environment for everyone.

Applications for the Fantastic for Families Awards are open until 10th January 2018. Find out more and apply.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

13 November 2017