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Actors Touring Company under fire for handling of Ramin Gray harassment investigation

Director Ramin Gray
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An investigation into alleged inappropriate behaviour by theatre director Ramin Gray during his time at Actors Touring Company has been criticised for being “left to fizzle out”.

Two complainants have challenged ATC’s handling of an independent investigation being carried out into claims made against its artistic director, who remains on leave during the process.

A theatre director, who has asked not to be named, said she had received “radio silence” from ATC since logging a complaint four months ago. She has accused the organisation of “making a strategic decision to quietly let it fizzle out”.

ATC initiated an investigation into Gray in November 2017, following allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

The allegations came to light after an interview by blogger Carl Woodward was published in which Gray said the search for “the Weinstein of British theatre” was an honourable one.

Following the publication of the blog, Woodward said he was approached by a number of people with complaints against Gray, which were referred to ATC and Equity.

The investigation was launched in November, but there has been no public statement about its progress since, despite The Stage being told on November 29 that the investigation was expected to conclude in December.

When pressed last month, an ATC spokesman told The Stage: “The process begun late last year relating to Ramin Gray is still underway and, while this is the case, Ramin remains on leave of absence.”

Now, two of the complainants have spoken to The Stage, criticising the handling of the investigation, which is being led by employment law specialist Lucy McLynn.

The first, a director, logged a complaint with ATC of an alleged incident of inappropriate verbal behaviour during Ramin’s time working at the Royal Court around 10 years ago, which pre-dates his tenure at ATC.

She said she emailed one of ATC’s board members to log the incident, in order to contribute to the wider investigation, and then spoke on the phone to the investigator, who said the investigation’s remit covered only incidents that happened within Gray’s term at ATC.

The director said: “I can see that they can only investigate things that are within the remit of his employment terms, but there’s been this radio silence about it all. It’s not in the public domain that they took any action at all, as far as I’m aware they haven’t made a statement about it.”

She said organisations such as ATC needed to “set an example of how that kind of thing is handled”, because otherwise “it’s very likely to all be put to bed without anybody actually knowing what’s being done and what new circumstances or safeguards might be put in place”.

The second complainant, a playwright who also asked not to be named, alleged an instance of sexually inappropriate verbal behaviour by Gray around eight years ago, thought to be just within Gray’s tenure at ATC.

She said: “I think this investigation is very important because if handled correctly it sends a message to those that behave inappropriately and abusively that there is zero tolerance now and that there should always have been.

“It will also hopefully send the message to women and men out there that they will be believed and that their concerns will be taken seriously. We’ve yet to be shown that this is happening.”

An ATC spokesman said: “Following complaints made against Ramin Gray, artistic director of ATC, a process of investigation was put in place. Ramin Gray has cooperated fully. A number of stages in that process have now been completed and both Equity and ITC have been kept fully informed of its progress. However, pending its conclusion, it would be inappropriate for ATC or Ramin Gray to comment further. In the meantime, Ramin Gray remains on a leave of absence.”

A spokeswoman for Arts Council England, which provides funding to ATC, said it was unable to comment on the investigation until it had reached its conclusion.

Editor’s View: There are lessons for employers in mishandling of harassment complaints

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