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National’s Rufus Norris: ‘My own behaviour in the rehearsal room has been challenged’

Rufus Norris. Photo: Paul Plews
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Rufus Norris has revealed there have been instances where his own behaviour in the rehearsal room has been challenged, following the implementation of a campaign aimed at stamping out harassment in theatre.

Norris, as director of the National Theatre, has publicly backed Equity’s Safe Spaces campaign, which seeks to empower members to challenge harassment.

Speaking in the union’s magazine, he said the campaign had already succeeded in making people feel able to speak out.

He said: “There have been instances already where one or two people have said to me ‘Be aware that when you did/said that it could be perceived in this way’,” he said, adding that he had found this to be educative.

Norris added that it showed people were feeling “empowered’ where in the past “they may have felt they took their own job security into their hands by doing so”.

Norris said the campaign was a clear way of “stating from the outset the way in which we intend to see work made”. The campaign involves a statement being read out at the start of each project, which outlines all the participants’ commitment to respecting and supporting each other.

The director said he hoped this would become “standard practice” and added: “We don’t have time to take a generation to get to grips with these issues; it’s got to happen now”.