Theatre workers reveal sexual harassment

Stage door at the Old Vic in London

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The Stage spoke to 1,000 theatre professionals for its research

Almost a third of theatre professionals in the UK have been sexually harassed at work, according to a survey.

The Stage magazine asked over 1,000 people working in industry for their experiences, with 31% saying they had suffered sexual harassment.

Over 40% of respondents said they had been bullied and almost 8% said they had been sexually assaulted at work.

Director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris said the “shaming” revelations “must force change”.

The study comes after allegations of sexual assault and harassment were made against actor Kevin Spacey.

He worked as the artistic director of London’s Old Vic theatre between 2004 and 2015.

The theatre has now launched a “guardians programme” to offer staff someone to talk to about any concerns they have.

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Kevin Spacey worked as the artistic director of the Old Vic for over 10 years

Spacey’s spokesperson has previously said the actor is “taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment”.

Professionals interviewed by the magazine included performers, backstage workers, front of house staff and management.

Some said that harassment and bullying were “ingrained into the theatre culture”, with others saying they felt “systematically disrespected, devalued and belittled”.

However, 67% of people who had suffered did not report incidents, and when sexual assault was reported, no action was taken in four out of five cases.

Rufus Norris said those in the industry coming forward with their stories were a “powerful prompt” to review policy and codes of practice, as well as a moment for “for each of us to look at our individual behaviour”.

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