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PACT Condemns Sexual Harassment And Bullying In Canadian Live Theatre

PACT condemns sexual harassment and bullying in Canadian live theatre

The Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) and its members emphatically restate the association’s deep commitment to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying in the workplace.

The news of a civil suit being brought forward against Albert Schultz and Soulpepper Theatre and the subsequent community reaction was discussed extensively at a meeting of PACT’s Board of Directors on January 5 & 6 in Montreal.

As in other sectors and industries, sexual harassment and assault are issues of deep concern in the theatre sector, and such grave allegations as have been brought forward must be taken very seriously. PACT and our community stand with victims of sexual harassment and violence and acknowledge the bravery and personal courage that it takes to come forward.

Jay Dodge, the President of PACT’s Board of Directors states: “PACT condemns sexual harassment and bullying in the professional theatre industry and has been taking steps to ensure our theatres are safe and respectful workplaces. PACT has been actively engaged for some time in providing support to theatres and the artists and arts workers within them to foster safe, respectful and inclusive work environments – working even more actively on these issues since 2016 with the creation of the collaborative Not in Our Space! Initiative with Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.”

PACT has a number of initiatives underway including: the Not in Our Space! Initiative, intended to stop harassment before it starts, the provision of education and awareness for artists and PACT members, training on workplace investigations for PACT member companies, and a leadership summit later this month to create a national action plan for live performance.

Not in Our Space!

Announced in early 2017 Not in Our Space! is a national anti-harassment and respectful workplace collaboration campaign between Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (Equity) and PACT which seeks to ensure healthy and productive working conditions for all professionals working in live performance across the country. This collaboration fosters awareness of the issues through education and dialogue, providing support for those who have experienced or witnessed toxic behaviours in the workplace and providing the tools necessary to prevent bullying and harassment.

PACT, Equity and the theatres will all offer ways to support artists and theatres when there is a question about harassment in the workspace or when steps need to be taken to resolve an incident. Equity will provide materials (brochures, bookmarks and posters) to support the theatres and their members for distribution and display. For Not in Our Space! materials and more information, please visit the Not in Our Space! information page on Equity’s website.

Training & support for PACT theatres

As part of Not in Our Space! and as a part of human resources services in development for its members, PACT will be:

  • Hosting a teleconference for member companies to discuss concerns and questions subsequent to these events
  • Providing policy templates for theatres and information on Provincial and Federal legislative expectations and documentation needs
  • Providing training for theatres on promoting zero tolerance and appropriate management processes, including a webinar later in January offering training on workplace investigation processes for member companies seeking training in this area

A leadership summit for live performance

PACT has been working with Equity to convene a meeting of leaders in live performance including associations in dance, music and theatre as well as major institutions, members of the equity-seeking community and others. PACT, Equity, Associated Designers of Canada, Playwrights’ Guild of Canada, opera.ca, Orchestras Canada, the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, the Canada Dance Assembly, and representatives of many other organizations will meet on January 17. This meeting is intended to share initiatives and to create a national, collaborative action plan for the live performance sector. More information will be forthcoming after this meeting.

PACT is committed to taking a leadership role in eliminating sexual harassment and bullying in professional Canadian theatre. We will work with our members and colleagues, dedicating energy to cultivating and supporting the community in creating harassment-free theatre environments across Canada.

 

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact:

Sara Meurling

Executive Director

sara@pact.ca

416-595-6455 ext 11

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