1.0 POLICY OBJECTIVE
The intent of this policy is to provide guidance for the Independent Theatre Association (ITA) to work with member clubs in providing the best possible rehearsal and performance environment for all cast, crew, creatives, and other volunteers working in community theatre; one that is based on goodwill and respect and that is a safe space for all involved.
Darlington Theatre Players Inc. will seek guidance and advice from the Independent Theatre Association Inc. if there is a violation of any of the policy guidelines as listed below and the matter cannot be resolved within the club first, and/or it is determined that legal action may be required.
Darlington Theatre Players require ALL members of a production team, including cast, crew, production team and any other people affiliated with any production or event at the club to abide by the following guidelines as laid out below.
Failure to do so may result in legal action and/or termination of membership.
Any complaints pertaining to this policy document are to be forwarded in writing to the club President: firstname.lastname@example.org, Production Manager email@example.com OR discussed with your PLO or other member of the relevant team (including Production Team and any Executive Committee Member). All complaints will be met on a case-by-case basis and will be addressed with due process and vigilance.
Harassment includes any behaviour that is offensive, intimidating, humiliating or hostile; which interferes with individuals’ ability to perform; which causes fear for the harassed person and behaviour which sexualises the workplace. Harassment based on age, sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, ethnic or national origins, religion or belief, or harassment of a sexual nature is unlawful and may render the individual personally liable for legal action or even criminal proceedings.
Any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, or other conduct based on sex, affecting the dignity of an individual, which can include unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct whereby the behaviour is inappropriate, offensive or distressing for the recipient and such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexualised working environment for the recipient.
Conduct or comments become harassment when they are unwelcome to others or make others feel uncomfortable or threatened, even if they are intended as a joke. Conduct may include:
- Insinuating and sexualised remarks
- Grabbing or touching
- Suggestive gestures and jokes
- Staring, meaningful glances
- Demand for sexual attention
- Derogatory remarks about an individual’s body, manner or sexual activities
- Insult after rejection of an advance and / or repeated propositions
- Showing, sending or display of pornography
- Promise of advantage for sexual concessions
- Threat of disadvantage for rejection of advances
- Physical force, or threat of force, for sexual action.
This list is not exhaustive and it is recognised that unwanted sexual attention can take many forms.
Bullying can take many forms, including jokes, teasing, nicknames, emails, pictures, text messages, social isolation or excluding people, or unfair work practices. Bullying is unacceptable in any community theatre and may also be against occupational health and safety law. If someone is being bullied because of a personal characteristic protected by equal opportunity law, it is a form of discrimination.
2.4 Key Contacts to report and investigate inappropriate behaviour
Cast Welfare officer – Designated person to talk to about any issues that may arise in a production.
Creative team – Often includes the Director, Musical Director, Choreographer, Stage Manager or Designers.
Everyone participating in Western Australian Community Theatre is expected to recognise that each individual has a right to a working environment which encourages respectful, considerate, dignified and non-sexualised relationships. It is everyone’s duty to treat their colleagues with dignity and respect. The Darlington Theatre Players is opposed to harassment and bullying in any form. Every cast member, crew member, creative, committee member and volunteer is responsible for their own behaviour in this regard and any threatening, aggressive, bullying behaviour, harassment or unwanted sexual attention, language or behaviour may result in disciplinary action such as bans from that club.
Executive and General Committee Members from Member Clubs are responsible for ensuring appropriate policies are in place to ensure their members are protected from harm and that any complaints or reports of harassment and bullying are investigated and documented.
The Independent Theatre Association (WA) Inc. (ITA) will support Member Clubs in adopting appropriate policies and practices to ensure a safe environment for participants. The ITA can provide advice to Member Clubs on how to appropriately investigate complaints or reports of inappropriate behaviour. If a complaint is raised directly with the ITA, the ITA Committee will work with the Member Club to resolve the issue.
It is important to note that sexual assault is a criminal offence, and any instances should be reported to WA Police. Sexual harassment may also be considered a criminal offence. Member Clubs should consider supporting the complainant in making a report to WA Police where appropriate.
4.0 POLICY STATEMENTS
Everyone working within Community Theatre is expected to consider the impact that their actions or comments may have on others and to take responsibility for their own behaviour.
The Darlington Theatre Players encourages someone with a concern to firstly directly address it with the individual(s) involved. This helps to foster an honest and open community and is often the fastest path to a resolution.
The Darlington Theatre Players encourage everyone to report instances of sexual harassment and bullying and to encourage their peers to do the same. Peer-to-peer support will help to create a working culture where inappropriate sexual behaviour or language is unacceptable and can be challenged either in the moment or through the formal procedure.
The Darlington Theatre Players will document and keep a register of incidents and actions taken.
The ITA will support and participate in industry initiatives and individual Member Club initiatives to raise awareness of sexual harassment and bullying within theatres and which give people the confidence to challenge and change a working culture which condones bullying and inappropriate sexual behaviour or language.
5.0 RECOMMENDATIONS in Action
The Darlington Theatre Players are part of a group effort to stamp out bullying and sexual misconduct and that this behaviour will not be tolerated.
Cast and crew are to be briefed at the first rehearsal or read-through as to The Darlington Theatre Players’ policy and processes for reporting harassment. Outline the process and timeline for electing Cast Welfare Officers, who are representatives and advocates for cast welbeing and an additional person cast and crew can talk to about incidences of bullying, sexual harassment or misconduct, and introduce the Production Liaison officer to all cast, crew and production team and a contact number and email will be made available.
Posters are to be created to hang in dressing rooms and other areas which state that bullying or sexual harassment or misconduct will not be tolerated and who to speak to if misconduct occurs.
Cast and crew are made aware that they can report bullying, sexual harassment or misconduct to any of five places: Production Liaison Officer (PLO), Cast Welfare Officer; Director; Stage Manager; Club Committee Member or the Independent Theatre Association. If their initial report was not resolved satisfactorily, they can raise it again with another party listed above.
Cast Welfare Officers, Directors, Stage Managers and Club Committee Members (Including Production Liaison Officer and other Production Team Members) are made aware that they are designated people to receive reports of bullying, sexual harassment and misconduct from cast and crew. The onus is on them to treat the report sensitively, maintain their privacy, and work within the Member Club's processes to investigate and resolve the complaint.
The Darlington Theatre Players will seek a character reference when engaging a new Director who they are not familiar with. This could include other clubs where the proposed Director has previously worked, or the Independent Theatre Association committee. This reference should be documented within Club Committee processes.
All members of the Production Team are to hold a valid Working With Children Check where anyone under 18 years of age is involved in the production as cast or crew
The Designated Youth Chaperone/s (a person appointed by the Committee who has a valid Working With Children Check) will be present backstage, at all rehearsals and in all supervisory capacities where Production Team Members do not have a valid Working With Children Check. (ie – youth under the age of 18 will always be supervised by someone with a valid WWC).
Two (2) members of the Production Team/Cast/Crew, where one is the Designated Youth Chaperone and the other has a valid WWCC, are required to be in attendance to supervise any person under the age of 18 after rehearsals and performances have concluded to ensure safe pickup of children by their parents/guardians. These two (2) designated persons must stay until all persons under the age of 18 have been picked up and supervision is no longer required.
If a member of the Production Team/Cast/Crew are to give a person under the age of 18 a ride to or from the venue or for any other purpose, permission must be obtained from the child’s parent/guardian and that Production Team/Cast/Crew Member must let either the Director, Stage Manager or Designated Youth Chaperone know of the arrangement.
Member Clubs consider requiring all cast and crew to hold a valid Working With Children Check in any production that has people under 18 working in any capacity. (See provision in 5.71 – 5.73 above)
Production Team Members never text/private message/private email cast members under 18 years of age without messaging their parent/guardian concurrently.
Members of the Production Team, Production Liaison Officers and Cast Welfare Officers must refrain from beginning a new romantic/sexual relationship with any cast or crew members until the production has finished, as their position in the production creates an implied power imbalance where it is difficult to establish clear consent from all parties.
Auditions are to occur at premises designated by the member club, not at a residential address. All auditions with people under 18 years are to have at least two members of the Production Team or Club Committee present while the parent/guardian may choose to be in attendance. A designated youth chaperone is required to be in attendance if the members of the Production Team or Club Committee Member do not have valid Working With Children Checks. Adult auditions may be held one-on-one however another member of the Production Team or Club Committee must be on-site.
All rehearsals and costume fittings with persons under 18 years are to take place with at least one other member of the Production Team (who has a valid WWCC) present, or in the presence of a parent/guardian OR in the presence of the designated Youth Chaperone. It is recommended that one-on-one rehearsals with any cast member is avoided where possible.
5.13The Darlington Theatre Players encourages Directors to adopt the ITA’s Intimacy Guidelines to ensure intimate scenes and physical contact are blocked/staged in a way that promotes safe intimacy practices.
A copy of this Policy and the Member Club’s Code of Conduct is incorporated into The Darlington Theatre Players Director’s Pack and is available on the website www.marlootheatre.com.au
The Darlington Theatre Players will implement a Code of Conduct that incorporates these Policy positions and this is to be agreed upon by all parties prior to commencing rehearsals. (Via online form)