Ruby Slippers Theatre announces the
Speak Up! Series
If you have a story of misconduct in the rehearsal hall to tell, but are afraid to tell it due to possible retribution, you can tell it here. As part of the Flying Monkey blog, we are going to publish a series of anonymous true stories from the national theatre community to help raise awareness around the ongoing issues of bullying, harassment, discrimination and abuse of power.
Have you made a complaint and nothing positive resulted from it? Tell us about it.
Too intimidated to make a formal complaint? Tell us about it.
If you have ideas about how the issue or incident should have been handled and it wasn’t, tell us about it. We are here to listen, to empower, and to let you know that you are not alone. We are also going to forward all of your ideas about resolving/dealing with stated forms of misconduct to The Canadian Actors Equity Association and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres to further this important dialogue and enhance solutions.
Email your story to [email protected] with attention to Speak Up! and join the conversation on our Flying Monkey blog. Please tell us your story. Your identity will remain anonymous, including to us. No names will be printed.
All Four of these Stories happened within the last two years
Story of a young woman who was told by a director to “unfriend” certain people on Facebook who the director said had “slighted” her; this was conditional on this actor being hired.
Story of a director who had a complaint lodged against them. The director’s reaction when the A.D. of the company was informed of the formal complaint was to scream at the actor the next day in rehearsal, saying that they (the director) had no issues with visible minorities, and that they were insulted by the complaint; that the director had hired this particular actor not because they were part of a visible minority, but to get the job done. Self righteous and humiliating, it could have been an opportunity for the director to acknowledge their bad behaviour and make partial amends.
Story of a director so publicly belittling to the young actor that she the young actor was reduced to tears and her confidence compromised for years afterward.
Story of a director who had a serious meltdown on one actor in front of the whole cast that so negatively impacted the whole cast, they never wanted to work with him, the director, again. A formal complaint was filed. And yet this director is consistently hired back by that theatre. “He’s just very sensitive” was a reason given.
What is a through-line for all these stories is how acting on them did nothing. The SM was paralyzed, leaving it to the actors to make a formal complaint. Moreover, the ramifications for the perpetrator of the incident was zero. There were no consequences for the perpetrator, and the actor felt like they were now stigmatized. All the companies featured in the stories shared with us also have another thing in common; they hire these people regularly. The fellow actors of the victims, their colleagues, did nothing during the incident, fearing stigma or retribution.
I don’t know how many times I have been in a rehearsal hall where a man or more
than one man does 90 percent of the talking. Just SHUT THE FUCK UP, MEN! Learn to LISTEN! Especially if the director is male, the dialogue in the room is predominantly men. But even some female directors let the men go on and on, as though they were the experts. It’s like verbal man-spreading, offensive, completely disrespectful, taking up all the space in the room and by doing so, squelching other voices and other presences. It also coerces the conversation, and the values in the room. It’s the epitome of privilege and ego. What we need is mandatory consciousness- raising classes around the fact that misogyny insipidly runs through every single fabric of this patriarchy we live in, and men – even artists – are privileged. Sensitivity training does not go far enough – if theatre is truly a collaborative art form, then men have to learn to listen quietly, hear what others are saying, and check their fat egos and their controlling agendas at the door. Moreover, mandatory classes around racism should be part of an artists curriculum. Equity/PACT should finance these consciousness raising classes in misogyny and racism.