Addressing safety concerns at STC

Addressing safety concerns at STC

The following is a response to the statements made on social media by the creative team of Saint Lucy’s earlier this week.

For the past two years, STC has been committed to creating an environment of safety, honesty, openness and acceptance for all, as well as creating excellent and relevant theater in the Triangle. We have pledged to abide by the Chicago Theater Standards in producing shows. This is not a pledge to always get it right the first time, but to ensure that, when issues occur, they are addressed as quickly and fully as possible, and that we put policies and procedures in place to ensure they do not happen again. Some of the policies, formal and informal, we have established or reinforced this year are:

  • A basic stage plot must be created and shared with the cast and crew by the first in-person rehearsal
  • A budget line item for an intimacy coordinator is required for each production 
  • A stage manager must be present for each rehearsal
  • Non-equity deputies (NEDs) should be nonbinary, LGBTQ or female whenever possible
  • Producers should refrain from participating in creative process, only entering the rehearsal room when necessary
  • Any “level 3” escalation must be communicated to the full STC board and resolved via formal meeting

Additionally, we have reacted as quickly as possible when cast members expressed concerns with any aspect of a production. We have gone off-budget to provide ADA-compliant access backstage, firearms training, fight coordinators and additional crew support when needed.

Several of these policies were born out of painful experiences, with some made even more painful when reporting of incidents was delayed. As we are a working board, we have sometimes been sources of an infraction, or responsible for reporting delays, and it has been challenging to forgive and move on when we are trying to build something bigger than ourselves. Several board members have resigned, and as board chair, I take full responsibility for pushing our group too hard to produce as much good theater as possible, as well as (to my great embarrassment) being the root cause of some of these experiences. Although we have forged many good working relationships with artists and organizations across the Triangle, we have lost some good people along the way, and I apologize humbly for letting them down.

It is important to note that the Saint Lucy’s creative team was not directly impacted by any of these issues. Rehearsals and auditions were conducted according to our standards, the rehearsal space was safe and convenient, and we have received no reports of CTS infractions.

However, it is now more important than ever to support individuals and organizations that are trying to produce art, and reprehensible to raise a glass when one is having trouble.  That’s why we have chosen to support the Saint Lucy’s cast and crew (and most importantly writer Ken Walsh). We have done what we can to help this locally-written play get a proper debut – relinquishing our reservation at the Mettlesome Theater, fulfilling our obligations to the Hayti Heritage Center as special sponsor, and facilitating the transition of ticket sales to the new production.

Finally: because of the current situation we find ourselves in, the STC Board has decided to suspend theatrical production for the foreseeable future. We will regroup, reflect and reevaluate how best to execute our mission.  I am saddened by this, but I look forward to the day when we can get back to the business of theater. Please feel free to contact me directly for questions.