Addressing Harassment and Bullying

On 23rd March a group of 47 people from across the theatre sector released a joint communique about the inaugural Safe Theatres Forum that took place on the 18th and 19th of March 2018 on Wurundjeri land in Melbourne. TNA was represented by Executive Director Nicole Beyer. 

Download the full communique here: Joint statement- Shared commitment to cultural change in the theatre sector.

We have all agreed to be the custodians of change. We made a long-term combined commitment to create workplaces free of harassment and bullying; workplaces that are safe, where policies and procedures are clearly communicated and understood, where avenues for complaint and redress are available which respect the rights of all parties involved.

As with all successful programs of cultural change, multiple initiatives will be required over the coming years, from strong and appropriate legislative frameworks; to a comprehensive, transparent and effectively utilised backbone of policy and procedure; to peer-to-peer campaigns that promote respect, inclusivity and responsibility and make these the accepted norms amongst theatre workers.

TNA committed to undertake 10 actions:

1. Information and Communications to the sector using our existing resource library and databases.

2. Support and collaboration with Safe Theatres Australia.

3. Facilitate ongoing conversations with sub-sectors including Circus and Physical Theatre, Dance, Youth Theatre and Theatre for Young Audiences.

4. Advocate for a sector wide Employee Assistance Program for those small to medium companies and independent artists without capacity to manage or access their own.

5. Advocacy around easing the burden of reporting for small organisations and project based collectives.

6. Work with other partners on Best Practice toolkits, guides and resources.

7. Assist other partners with one-pagers and summaries of other codes and guides, in particular of the Live Performance Australia Code when it is final.

8. Run or assist other partners with running face-to-face forums, especially for small to medium companies and indies – explaining the industry standard, discussing ways that smaller companies and indies can comply.

9. Organise peer to peer meetings for dialogue on issues specific to sub-sectors. Also act as a broker between resources provided by agencies and major companies for the small to medium and independent sectors.

10. Feedback input to LPA on draft Code and work with LPA to promote and distribute Code. (The forum agreed to adopt the final LPA Code as the industry code.) 

TNA will also: assist with following-up actions and implementation status of partners and update regularly as needed in partnership with Safe Theatres Australia; and consult the group/sector in one year to schedule a reconvening.

Other partners attending the forum have also committed to undertaking immediate, short-term and long term actions.

TNA is also representing members’ issues (based on our February company survey outcomes) in several forums and meetings about addressing bullying and harassment at a state and federal level, and will continue to look at what action is needed.

TNA would like to thank the amazing organisers of the forum, Eryn Jean Norvill and Sophie Ross from Safe Theatres Australia, who were supported by MEAA. 

Photo by MEAA.