SOLT & UK Theatre announce support for new standards authority tackling bullying and harassment in the Creative Industries

Today (Wednesday 18 January), leading trade associations Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre have announced their support for the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA), a new organisation being formed to prevent and tackle bullying and harassment in the theatre sector and across the wider creative industries.

The UK theatre industry joins the film and TV sectors in expressing support for the CIISA, with music expected to follow suit in the coming months.

The purpose of CIISA is to uphold and improve standards of behaviour across the creative industries by providing services, insight, research, policy, influence and advocacy.

These services are expected to include mediation, investigation, early dispute resolution and immediate advice, while the work around insight, research and policy is likely to include insight and learning from investigations, trends and data, and the sharing of cross-sector expertise.

CIISA’s work around influence and advocacy is likely to include lobbying for a legal definition of bullying, preventing misuse of NDAs, advocating for better advice and protections for freelancers, and promoting inclusivity. CIISA also recognises that standards cannot be raised without tackling discrimination and to this end it has embedded anti-discrimination measures into its proposed governance model.

Claire Walker and Hannah Essex, Co-Chief Executives of SOLT and UK Theatre, said: “As proud partners of CIISA, the theatre sector welcomes this opportunity to show its commitment to tackling bullying and harassment once and for all. We look forward to working with our members to support the development of this much-needed organisation in the coming months.”

Jennifer Smith, Interim Chief Executive of CIISA said: “The purpose of CIISA is prevention from harm and to ensure there are consistently safe workplaces for our talented workforce to thrive in. We are delighted to be working very closely with the theatre sector’s leading performing arts trade bodies alongside the film and TV industries and thank them for their commitment and support for CIISA as we continue to develop our proposals over the coming months.”

SOLT/UK Theatre will be hosting a free webinar for their members on Tuesday 21 February 2023 at 12pm to talk about the work that CIISA will do, and to update on the progress of the initiative. The webinar will be chaired by Sebastian Cater, Head of UK Theatre & Workforce Development, and feature Claire Walker and Hannah Essex, Co-Chief Executives of SOLT and UK Theatre, and Jennifer Smith, Interim Chief Executive of CIISA.

Time’s Up UK (created in response to the #MeToo movement in 2017) developed the CIISA led by its chair, Dame Heather Rabbatts, in deep consultation with the creative industries, led by Caroline Norbury OBE, Chief Executive of Creative UK. CIISA is currently in the early stages of development and is planning on detailed consultation with the creative industries Spring/Summer 2023, with a view to going live in early 2024.

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