Drama schools support fight against harassment (your views, November 16)

East 15 principal and chair of the Federation of Drama Schools Leon Rubin. Photo: Stephanie Methven
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In light of reports and allegations across our industry on sexual harassment and unacceptable behaviour, we welcome the contents of the code of behaviour published by London’s Royal Court Theatre on November 3.

We are grateful to all those who contributed their stories and insights during its day of action on October 28.

All member schools in the Federation of Drama Schools have robust measures, policies and mechanisms in place to prevent unacceptable or inappropriate conduct including sexual harassment in school and to support their students as they transition into the profession.

We believe in empowering students and colleagues to be confident and speak out. We therefore fully support the contents of the code of behaviour and will continue to work with our students, colleagues and the wider industry to make positive changes to our industry’s norms and values, and build a sustainable culture of dignity and respect.

Drama schools to hold special meeting to discuss sexual harassment

Federation members will be discussing how best to address these issues together at an extraordinary meeting later this month and during our annual conference on January 13, to which the Royal Court Theatre team has been invited.

Leon Rubin (Chair, Federation of Drama Schools; Principal, E15 Acting School)
Niamh Dowling (Head of School of Performance, Rose Bruford College)
Stephen Jameson (Principal, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts)
Joanna Read (Principal, LAMDA)
Kit Thacker (Managing director, Drama Studio London)

Save the Futurist legal fees

Your regular readers will be aware that Save the Futurist has been campaigning for many years to avoid the loss of our theatre in Scarborough (which has the sixth-largest audience capacity outside London) supported by the Theatres Trust.

On June 16, Save the Futurist faced Scarborough Council in Leeds High Court for an oral hearing, for the judge, Justice Kerr, to weigh up whether or not there were sufficient legal grounds to proceed to a judicial review (thestage.co.uk, June 19). Justice Kerr decided not to grant permission for judicial review and Scarborough Council asked for £16,000 costs to be awarded against us, which the judge reduced to £10,000.

Although the desired decision was not achieved, our legal team – Justine Thornton QC and solicitors Squire Patton Boggs – showed exceptional commitment. We are in the process of fundraising for their legal fees (about £15,000) as a matter of priority.

It is difficult to ask for donations towards legal expenses in the circumstances, but we would appreciate them, however small, from Futurist supporters throughout the country.

If you wish to make a contribution please send a cheque made out to Squire Patton Boggs to me at the address below. Donations will be recorded before they are forwarded.

You can also follow our campaign on Facebook and via Twitter @SaveTheFuturist.

The fight is not over yet. Numerous objections to the planning application for demolition have been sent to the secretary of state for local government and communities with requests to intervene and call for the decision to demolish to go to a public inquiry. We currently await a response.

Whatever the outcome, it will be clear that attempts were made at every opportunity to save our much-loved theatre for future generations.

Diana Tasker
Save the Futurist, 7 Weaponness Valley Close, Scarborough Y011 2JJ

Kevin Spacey allegations

The allegations against Kevin Spacey are reprehensible.

At the time of writing, they are just that, allegations. He has not been arrested, charged, tried or sentenced and yet his career is already in tatters.

What became of the tenet that one was presumed innocent until proven guilty?

Steve Lee
Email address supplied

Quote of the week

Anne Reid. Photo: Pamela Raith
Anne Reid. Photo: Pamela Raith

“I may be wrong, but I don’t remember seeing stuff about older people falling in love [before Last Tango]. And now people accept the fact, because of Derek and me, that you can fall in love at any age, and it’s not yucky, and it’s not ’orrible, and I’m proud of that.”
Anne Reid on starring in Last Tango in Halifax (Guardian)

“280 characters and every single one of them a middle-class white male in a middle-class white play writ by a middle-class white man and playing in a middle-class white theatre.”
Playwright Abi Zakarian (Twitter)

“The danger is that the cloud that hangs over the Old Vic in retrospect takes up a permanent position over the current regime. The theatre seems to be suffering a nasty case of Maybot-itis – soldier on, minimise the sense of crisis and maximise the corporate-ese. What is required is more transparency. There must be a truly independent inquiry into what has happened.”
Dominic Cavendish on the Old Vic’s handling of the Kevin Spacey allegations (Telegraph)

“They gave it a lot of opulence on Broadway, but I always thought it was a smaller story with the fantasy and magic coming out of something that was really intimate.”
Nigel Harman on Big Fish (London Theatre)

“In terms of toxic masculinity, I think it’s a very interesting time to be looking at how men behave behind closed doors out of sight.
Director Sam Yates on Glengarry Glen Ross (Evening Standard)

It is ridiculous that we don’t hold comedy on as high a level as straight drama. You can’t go to drama school and learn to be a comedian. It is in people.
Julie Walters (Guardian)

“This industry needs to shirk the sentiment that you are lucky to be a ‘paid performer’. Acting is a real job, not a hobby. It takes years to build up real skills. [Actors] have the right to respect and support – the same as everyone else.”
Natasha J Barnes (Twitter)

“We will always be a theatre company, we’re just fascinated by ways of recontextualising. If an audience has too much prior understanding, it makes it easy for them. Londoners know the work, so we want to ask questions of them.”
Punchdrunk founder Felix Barrett (Sunday Times)

What you said on Facebook

About Lyn Gardner’s column on the lack of support for ‘emerged’ artists…

There are no schemes available for women returners. With a chronic lack of appropriate childcare, they often end up having to start again from the bottom, in an industry renowned for the lack of opportunities for older women and where the gender pay gap still exists.
Fiona Branson

About reports that the arts are growing five times faster than the wider UK economy…

The government thinks it can cut funding without retribution. Arts are a relief from a lot of troubles in the world: if they were supported properly, tickets would be more affordable.
Beverly Cuerden

About pursuing a theatre career without going to drama school…

I didn’t go to drama school but I do take acting classes. I’ve been in short films, monologue slams (thanks to Triforce Creative Network) and theatre productions on which I’ve worked with incredibly talented people who have trained me along the way. It’s a lot more difficult than if you had ‘proper’ training, but if you want it, you’ll find a way.
Yasmin Jafri

About poor working conditions for costume professionals…

Although conditions for costume workers compare poorly with other technical departments, low pay, buyouts equating to illegal pay and rolling contracts are endemic across all backstage jobs in my experience.
Eleanor Theodorou