The news of this week has increased the intensity of the call to address the issues of sexual harassment within the performing arts community. As the service organization for the New England theater community, StageSource has been partnering with other organizations and working on ways to heed that call. In this email, we will outline the work that we have started and ask for your help in implementing the first very important step.
Step One: Conduct a community-wide survey to identify many of the needs and requirements for all entities and individuals involved.
The purpose of this survey is to mobilize the strength of the community in order to develop practices and standards which will help to make us all safer. Responses will greatly inform the training and programs as they take shape. The goal is not to litigate the past, but rather to help drive a culture shift for the future.
Please consider taking a moment to complete this CONFIDENTIAL survey, and feel free to forward this link to others in the New England performing arts community. We want to encourage the broadest possible participation so as to address as many issues as we can.
CLICK HERE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CONFIDENTIAL SURVEY
Below is an outline of the next steps involved in this initiative.
Step Two: Develop resources and training which are specific to the performing arts community.
While there are webinars and training available around the topic of sexual harassment, too often they are too broad to be helpful in a workplace where physical contact and heightened emotional states are part of the job. There are many organizations in our community which are already seeking to address these needs. Our goal is to spotlight best practices which are already being implemented and to develop community-wide standards and resources which can be made available to artists and organizations of all sizes and scopes. Specific goals include:
Create a code of conduct which organizations and artists can adopt.
Provide the education needed to develop Board roles and responsibilities.
Provide customized training for organizations and individuals which could include harassment training, bystander training, and diversity and inclusion training.
Create a toolkit of resources for organizations to access policies, employee communications, webinars, and articles which can help customize operating standards.
Offer safe zone certification for organizations which adopt and successfully implement the code of conduct, Board responsibility requirements, and customized training recommendations. Certification will communicate to current and potential employees that the organization is a safe place to work. It also offers the organization an opportunity to market their commitment to audiences and to create awareness.
Step Three: Develop resources for mediation, investigation, and restorative justice.
Organizations may encounter circumstances that require mediation and investigation. This goal of this step is to provide a place to turn. Situations may arise that require investigation but may not be in violation of regulations. Resources will be available to help navigate the situation, work with staff and artists, and help with education so that everyone can move forward. In the event that organizations have employees that come forward who have endured situations that have affected them personally and emotionally, this initiative will provide a resource to help individuals process this injustice and get to a place where they can move forward.StageSource, nor our partners, wish to take on the role of a performing arts police force. Rather, we can partner with folks who have expertise, and can help artists or organizations figure out the best path forward to restore justice.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the efforts underway here at StageSource. We welcome your participation in the survey and your feedback on this initiative moving forward. It will take the investment of the entire community to address this important issue and to ultimately shift the culture from within.
Julie Hennrikus, Executive Director
David Shane, Operations Supervisor
The StageSource Board of Directors