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Harassment and bullying in the theatre industry special report: Industry responds

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Introduction and analysis Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Useful resources

Following the wide-ranging and ongoing allegations of harassment and abuse in the entertainment industry and beyond, The Stage carried out a survey to determine the scale to which this has affected, and continues to affect, theatre and the performing arts professionals.

It was also intended to investigate whether there were any parts of the industry particularly hard hit. It was distributed to a database of registered users in November 2017 and was carried out over a 10-day period by 1,755 people with 1,050 people completing all key questions.

It collected the data of those who work, have previously worked, or are training to work in theatre.The overall results highlighted that 43% of theatre professionals had been bullied at work.

The survey showed 31% of respondents said they had experienced sexual harassment, with 20% – one in five – claiming to have been harassed. Respondents who said they had been sexually assaulted came to 8%.

Industry bodies and unions have spoken out following the public allegations of harassment and abuse in theatre that prompted The Stage’s research. The Stage shared the report’s preliminary findings with several organisations. Here, they respond.


“A lot of theatre work may take place in the shadows but responses to this necessary survey point to a pressing need to shine a light on employment practice within theatre.

Whatever your job, dignity at work should be yours and everyone has a role to play

“Whether you’re working as staff or freelance, and whatever your job, dignity at work should be yours and everyone has a role to play in delivering that. That message, backed by sound policies and investment in staff, should be in all theatres. All theatre employers have a legal duty and need to create the right environment to support those who suffer mistreatment. We in BECTU are ready to play our part.”


“Bullying and sexual harassment are not acceptable. Workers in the creative industries deserve to be treated with the same respect as other sectors of the economy and Equity will continue to challenge employers who abuse our members.

“The union recognises that members may not report bullying and harassment because they fear losing work. Members should be reassured that they can talk to the union in complete confidence.

“Equity will be publishing its solutions to the sexual harassment crisis in February.”

Society of London Theatre/UK Theatre

“As allegations of harassment and abuses of power emerged, the industry was united in a call to create an environment where unacceptable behaviour is always addressed.

“SOLT and UK Theatre have acted to ensure members, and the industry, are able to share and develop policies and practices that mean theatre is a safe and supportive working environment for everyone. We are holding open forums across the UK that will inform training and initiatives. It is vital that many voices contribute to these conversations, so that lasting and meaningful change takes place.”

Introduction and analysis Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Useful resources

Click here for all The Stage’s coverage of harassment in the theatre industry and advice on who to contact if you or someone you know has been a victim

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