UK Theatre and SOLT have today (Monday 1 November) released an updated version of their 10 Principles for creating safe and inclusive working spaces in the theatre industry.
Supported by 21 leading industry trade bodies, membership organisations, unions and members of AAPTLE, the Principles will be made available to organisations around the UK as a free, downloadable A3 poster to be printed and displayed in offices, rehearsal rooms and backstage areas. All supporting organisations are encouraging all theatre employers, employees, freelancers, trainees, volunteers, and Board trustees and directors to adhere to these principles
Among the relaunched Principles is the recognition that harassment and discriminatory language or behaviour may be unlawful, and the commitment to explicitly address and seek to prevent racism and all other forms of discrimination and bias, their manifestations and effects. Theatre employers are urged to accept their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and to respect everyone’s dignity and differences, regardless of seniority.
The 10 Principles were first launched in 2017 as part of UK Theatre’s Safer and More Supportive Working Practices Handbook, designed to help employers meet their legal requirements and promote a shared responsibility for creating and maintaining a healthy working environment.
Originally created largely in response to the #MeToo movement, the Principles have been updated to cover discrimination across all protected characteristics, adapted from the BFI's recently updated code of conduct for the film and TV industry.
Sebastian Cater, Head of UK Theatre and Workforce Development, said:
‘While the pandemic has brought huge disruption to our sector, it has also afforded us a unique opportunity to take stock of pre-Covid practices and examine ways in which we can create a more welcoming, inclusive working culture. Change starts with industry leaders and employers, and it’s so encouraging to have the support of our members and boards as well as the main unions and trade bodies in disseminating and upholding the new Principles. Together we can make them become industry standard.
‘We strongly encourage everyone working in the industry to acquaint themselves with these principles and help us move towards a more respectful and inclusive working culture. Hopefully the 10 Principles posters will become a familiar sight in theatre workspaces across the country.’
Alongside the 10 Principles, UK Theatre and SOLT are championing a number of initiatives aiming to create a safer working culture and support the victims of harassment and discrimination. One such resource is the Anti-Racism Touring Rider, launched earlier this year, which UK Theatre is currently consulting with its members on.
UK Theatre and SOLT have also formed a Safeguarding Working Group consisting of HR and employment law specialists, and are part of the DCMS/Creative Industries Federation Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Working Group.
More details of industry initiatives and resources can be found in the Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination and Diversity and Inclusion resource libraries on UK Theatre’s website.
Date Published: 01 November 2021