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Chris Goode puts work on hold after safeguarding issues caused “hurt and distress” to colleagues

Chris Goode at The Pleasance Courtyard. Photo: Alex Brenner Chris Goode at The Pleasance Courtyard. Photo: Alex Brenner
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Chris Goode and Company has cancelled a planned Edinburgh Fringe show and put the rest of its public-facing work on hold, citing safeguarding issues for the move.

The organisation said it had cancelled a planned run of its show Narcolepsy at the fringe – and suspended other work – following an independent investigation in response to concerns raised by former colleagues. It said this had resulted in a report outlining a number of recommendations “for better safeguarding across our work”.

The company said the recommendations were to form a new code of conduct, but that “progress was unfortunately slow while we implemented vital staffing and infrastructural changes to the company to ensure these commitments were deliverable”.

“As the independent report acknowledges, we brought to this ambitious experimental work the intention of proper care and support for all participants. We are acutely aware that, for some, we have clearly fallen short, and unwittingly caused hurt and distress to valued colleagues. For this, we unreservedly apologise,” Goode said in a statement.

He added: “As I have made clear from the beginning, I would sincerely welcome any contact, either direct or via an intermediary, with anyone involved who would like to open up a dialogue with me around any of this.

“In the interests of creating space for such genuinely constructive dialogue, we will not be making any further public comment at this time.”

Goode said the issues began in 2017, when an open letter was published by a former member of Ponyboy Curtis, an ensemble Goode had led independently of Chris Goode and Company, which raised “potential failures of safeguarding”.

In March 2018, Goode ordered an independent investigation in response to concerns raised by former colleagues, mostly relating to Ponyboy Curtis.

Chris Goode and Company put its work on hold while this happened, and the review led to recommendations for “better safeguarding across our work”.

Last month, the company said it was contacted anonymously by a group of former colleagues “forcefully expressing their concern that we were not focusing sufficiently on the work” it had committed to in the aftermath of the investigation.

At the same time it also received a formal complaint from the author of the 2017 open letter.

“In recognition of the crucial importance of dealing with these challenges thoroughly, carefully and respectfully, we are now putting almost all of our public-facing activity on hold, while we do the necessary learning, create a properly robust code of conduct, and take the right steps to ensure everyone who engages with our work in future can have total confidence in the way we do it,” Goode said.

He added: “We are already working closely with key partners, including Arts Council England, to map out the best route forward for the company.”

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