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National Theatre Blog

Rufus Norris responds to harassment and bullying survey by The Stage

Rufus Norris and Alecky Blythe in rehearsals credit Richard Hubert Smith
​Today, The Stage has published the results of a new survey, which casts light on the scale to which harassment and bullying has affected theatre and performing arts professionals.
 
In response, Rufus has written an opinion piece for The Stage calling for our industry to challenge workplace and rehearsal room cultures.

"  The shaming revelations about sexual harassment in our industry have been sobering in the extreme. Most of us in the arts pride ourselves, often publicly, on our commitment to equality, and these revelations have rightly put that sense of pride under a harsh spotlight. But it now gives us a unique opportunity to draw a line and change forever the culture of secrecy, tolerance and acceptance of what is completely unacceptable."

​On bullying and abuse of power:

"​  ...If we challenge the culture of thos​e rehearsal rooms or film sets, will we see a radical drop in the production of the extraordinary, or the extraordinarily successful? I believe the opposite – that the sea change will allow for a more productive, focused and positive workplace, will free up career paths and opportunities toward the inevitable enrichment of our industry. Surely our future success depends on drawing talent from every part of society.
 
Right now, however, that isn’t the point. The point is to stop abuse. In the Royal Court’s Code of Conduct the very first line addresses this, stating: “You must take responsibility for the power you have. It’s simple, and clear. It applies to any of us who hold power over other people at work. We often hold the keys to their careers. They are impacted by our actions, humour, politics; our insecurities, our tempers, and our fears."​​​

You can read Rufus' full comment piece here and the survey by the Stage here.