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New workshops for drama students to explain how to report sexual harassment

Houselights co-founder Rachel Vogler delivering a TEDx talk at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Photo: Mitchell Eric Cohen
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An organisation has been set up to better equip graduating theatre professionals to report sexual harassment at work.

Formed by two recent graduates of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Houselights aims to provide drama school students with a working knowledge of the policies and processes around harassment so that they are better equipped when they enter the industry.

Co-founder Rachel Vogler said Houselights hoped to go into drama schools and youth theatres to deliver a set of workshops to graduating students, as part of a three-stage programme. While the organisation is still in its infancy, early plans include hosting panel discussions and creating video resources alongside the workshop programme.

A network of affiliate venues and companies is also being created to share knowledge of their reporting processes and policies around harassment, and generate industry support.

Vogler, and co-founder Kim Turford, said they had already met with around 20 theatres and organisations to develop their plans.

Vogler told The Stage: “We know that industry policy is only as strong as the policies of the various theatres and organisations that make that up, so we want to tap into examples of good practice and industry knowledge and integrate that as much as possible into the workshops.”

The programme is planned for youth theatres and drama schools, to reach the widest range of future industry professionals, and can be tailored for the requirements of different institutions.

Vogler added: “We know that harassment can happen at any time in a person’s career, but it’s more likely that in that really volatile early stage of a career a person is more vulnerable. It does not have to be inevitable that a drama school graduate has to wait until the point at which they experience harassment to figure out what to do, what they’re allowed to demand, or what the process looks like. We can prepare them.”

An inaugural forum event is being held on October 23 at the Arcola Theatre in London. The free event will feature guest speakers and discussions.

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