A survey of theatre workers has found 40% to 50% of them had experienced sexual harassment including “unwanted familiarity, leering and unpleasant jokes”, 14% said they had been sexually assaulted, 11% had been the victims of physical assault and 10% had been stalked by a co-worker. The report also found 9% had experienced indecent exposure.
The report was commissioned by the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) and conducted between July and November this year. It confirmed its earlier interim findings from its survey of members’ experiences of harassment and bullying in the theatre industry with the release of the full report yesterday.
The report also found 62% of actors and technicians working in live performance had experienced some form of bullying.
The Confederation of State Theatre Companies known as CAST, (Bell Shakespeare, Belvoir, Black Swan, the Malthouse, Melbourne Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre, the State Theatre Company of South Australia and Sydney Theatre Company), said in a statement yesterday that it would work with the MEAA to review policies and procedures in theatre workplaces and also “explore the circumstances that might lead to inappropriate behaviours, and those that militate against effective reporting and management of cases”.
The MEAA survey revealed that 58 per cent of respondents said they were rarely or never told how to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace and 47% said that when it was reported, the issues were handled poorly or worsened.
“This is a unique moment in history,” said the director of MEAA’s Equity section for performers and actors, Zoe Angus.
“The revelations of sexual harassment in our industry have been sickening, but the rise of the #metoo movement has been inspiring.
“We now have an opportunity to work together to solve this problem. We hope this will be the start of a collaborative effort to create change.”