‘Speak Up & Call it Out: Establishing a Code of Behaviour for Irish Theatre’, a theatre sector initiative led by Irish Theatre Institute and supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, took place in Dublin’s Liberty Hall yesterday.
After the events and revelations of the last few months in relation to the abuse of power in the theatre industry, and in line with calls to action taking place across the UK, Australia and elsewhere, Irish theatre came together to discuss and identify initiatives to begin a much needed cultural change in behaviour.
Industry body ‘Live Performance Australia’ — whose members include theatre companies, producers, tour promoters and venues — have recently drafted a code to prevent workplace discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and bullying, and the Irish theatre community met yesterday to try to follow suit by introducing a workable Code of Behaviour to protect Irish theatre practitioners, makers and presenters.
The Code introduced for discussion yesterday called for transparency, protection and accountability in Irish theatre. The initiatives aim is to eliminate the abuse of power to build a safe and dignified environment for all.
The event was hosted by Irish Theatre Institute Co-Directors Siobhán Bourke and Jane Daly with the opening address by Ms. Josepha Madigan TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
In her address Minister Madigan said “Today is about the elimination of abuse of power and the safeguarding of health and wellbeing and the career potential – of those working in the sector. But as we look forward with hope, it would be remiss of us not to reflect back on the hurt and wrongdoings of the past. Much of it never publicly voiced.
This process will not ignore the hurt and damage that has been done to so many people across the sector, women and men, across too many years and in many locations and we must honestly acknowledge that failures occurred. Power imbalances impact people’s lives, personally and professionally, individually and collectively. It is our shared responsibility to enable and ensure equality of standing for all members of our community.
Theatre is a collaborative art form where people with diverse skills, backgrounds, ages and genders work together to make art that reflects the world around us and the society within which we live. It is this spirit of collaboration and co-operation that, when harnessed, can drive change. Let us say today that we will no longer ignore our problems.”
Contributors throughout the day included artist/activist Grace Dyas, actor Andrea Irvine, Sarah Durcan of Amplify Women, Karan O’Loughlin, SIPTU and a presentation by UK based Ita O’Brien, Movement & Intimacy Director, on new industry guidelines being adopted in theatre and film internationally.
For more information visit http://irishtheatreinstitute.ie