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Drama schools to hold special meeting to discuss sexual harassment

East 15 principal and chair of the Federation of Drama Schools Leon Rubin. Photo: Stephanie Methven
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The Federation of Drama Schools is to hold a special meeting of its members in response to the continuing allegations of sexual harassment in the theatre industry.

The membership body, set up earlier this year to represent British drama training institutions, also expressed its support for the Royal Court’s recently published code of behaviour, and said it would work with “students, colleagues and the wider industry” to implement change.

The federation was established as a partial replacement to Drama UK, which dissolved last year. Its members include RADA, LAMDA, the Royal Central School of School of Speech and Drama, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Royal Court artistic director Vicky Featherstone has already said a “major conversation” with drama schools needs to be had around harassment and bullying.

In a letter to The Stage, signed on behalf of the federation’s 20-strong membership, the group said it would be holding an extraordinary meeting later this month to discuss how drama schools can best address the issues of harassment and bullying.

It will also be on the agenda at the federation’s annual conference in January, to which the Royal Court has been invited.

The federation is chaired by East 15 principal Leon Rubin, who told The Stage it was necessary to “move quickly and take it seriously” if issues of harassment and bullying were raised within drama schools themselves.

“We can’t be complacent. We’ve got to look at [our policies] and say, ‘Are they tough enough, are they good enough and do they work in practice?'”

Practical measures could include adopting a code of behaviour, such as a variation of the Royal Court’s guidelines, Rubin said.

The federation would also be discussing how to prepare students for the industry, he added.

“In a sense we want to act collectively, but we also want to act individually when it comes to practical implementation,” Rubin added.

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