On Saturday 28th October, we went to Royal Court’s Day of Action. The event which was held in response to the Weinstein revelations, offered a place for people in our industry to safely and anonymously report their experiences of being subjected to abuses of power. There were two parts of the day, a town hall meeting and a platform where testimonies of sexual harassment were read out to an audience. There were 150 testimonies sent to the Royal Court, 126 were experiences directly from the theatre industry and 14% happened at drama school between tutors and students. You can read the full press release here (https://d19lfjg8hluhfw.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/06173403/Vicky-Featherstone-Announces-Code-of-Behaviour-to-Prevent-Sexual-Harrassment-and-Abuses-of-Power1.pdf).
From listening to those testimonies, we learned that a lot of sexual harassment and assault took place between visiting lecturers or visiting directors and students. We ask drama schools to put in place proper vetting procedures for visiting lecturers, visiting directors and those who may be friends or associated with the school. We also ask schools to adopt Royal Court’s Code of Behaviour.
Sexual harassment and assault are horrific experiences to happen to anyone, anywhere. But in a learning environment, where trust is placed so heavily on those guiding young people in their first steps into the creative industries, it is a betrayal of everything those institutions should stand for.
We want to reiterate that there is no room for this sort of behaviour in our society, theatres and especially in our drama schools. We won’t allow it. We won’t stand by it. We will support you. We will listen to you.
The Diversity School team (Maame Atuah, Katie Bond, Mumba Dodwell, Steven Kavuma and Sanjay Lago)
Below is a list of organisations who are devoted to looking after survivors:
Equality and Human Rights Commission – Sexual Harassment – 0845 604 6610
National Domestic Violence Helpline 08457 023 047
NHS Direct Helpline: 0845 46 47
Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre 0808 802 9999
The Rape and Abuse Line 0808 800 0123
Victim Support 0845 30 30 900
Women’s Aid Federation of England 0808 2000 247