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Exclusive: Board exodus at ATC over Ramin Gray treatment

Director Ramin Gray Ramin Gray
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Three board members of Actors Touring Company have resigned “in protest and frustration” at the events that led to former artistic director Ramin Gray’s departure.

The board members claim Gray should have been allowed to resume his work at ATC following the outcome of a disciplinary hearing that gave him a formal warning. They blamed a “slim majority” of the board for pursuing Gray on “unrelated grounds”, leading to his resignation from the company.

The Stage understands these grounds were not linked to the initial allegations against Gray and were related to him not properly informing the board that he had accepted freelance work abroad.

Gray stepped down from ATC in July, some weeks after he was given a formal written warning following an investigation into complaints of “inappropriate verbal conduct”.

Allegations against the director surfaced in November 2017, and an ATC statement released when Gray left the company in July said the “months of public scrutiny” surrounding the investigation meant “a new start seems appropriate for all”.

Now, it can be revealed that four board members also stepped down at a similar time. Three of these individuals – Caroline Bailey, David Lubin and Lisa Makin – have linked their resignations directly to Gray’s, claiming he was unfairly treated.

In a joint statement they said: “Following Ramin Gray’s departure from Actors Touring Company in July 2018, we resigned as ATC board members in protest and frustration at the handling of the affair. The independent investigator recommended that any sanction for the four instances of inappropriate verbal conduct that she found should take some form of warning, and not dismissal. She was clear there were no instances of sexual harassment, verbal or physical.

“The ATC board could have allowed Ramin to resume his work. Instead a slim majority pursued him on unrelated grounds for ‘disobeying management instructions’ and ‘breach of contract’. These accusations made his position untenable and led to his resignation. This led, in turn, to our resignation.”

A fourth former board member who resigned at the time, Helen Schlesinger, declined to comment when approached by The Stage.

The investigation into Gray’s conduct was carried out by a solicitor, Lucy McLynn, who recommended that the matter was heard at a disciplinary hearing. This took place in March, with Gray later appealing its outcome. A final decision was published in May, which upheld four complaints against Gray of inappropriate verbal conduct and issued him with the written warning, but did not recommend his dismissal.

Responding to the board members’ claims, a spokesman for ATC said: “When Ramin Gray decided to step down as artistic director of ATC in July this year, the company issued a statement. We will not be adding to that statement. The board has duties of confidentiality, which it intends to honour.”

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