Well, spring is here, and Buffalo Gal is up and running and delighting audiences. All is good in the world!!
Many of you will be familiar with an organisation called the Victorian Drama League (VDL). Itâ€™s perhaps best known for the services it provides in promoting community theatre â€“ they hold their annual awards night at the end of the year; they have an excellent monthly publication (Theatrecraft) full of great stories and reviews; their website CLICK HERE has a terrific â€˜Whatâ€™s Onâ€™ section and lists upcoming auditions; and they have an extensive play library which provides a borrowing service for its members.
Recently, the VDL has really â€˜stepped up to the plateâ€™ as the peak body for community theatre companies, in setting some expectations for its member companies to aspire to. In the August edition of Theatrecraft, the VDLâ€™s hard working Secretary Alison Campbell-Rate wrote of the need to ensure that companies â€œcreate a culture of respect and safety in our theatresâ€.
The VDL presented a motion, agreed by its committee, of management which recommends that:
Member companies develop a statement of values around proactively creating a culture of respect and safety and to publish this statement to its membership
Member companies ensure that all key personnel (including but not limited to Director, Assistant Director, Wardrobe, Stage Manager) have current Working With Children Checks where minors are involved in productions or events
Member companies establish an appropriate complaints process for dealing with complaints of abuse, harassment or sexually inappropriate behaviour and to publish this process to its membership."
This resolution was accompanied by a preamble, which in part reads:
â€œJust as amateur theatre companies have to meet a range of legal obligations concerning public liability, Occupational Health and Safety, provision of first aid, copyright, music licensing, etc, companies also need to be mindful of creating a safe and respectful environment for all participants. This is particularly relevant in the light of current heightened community concern over the issues of bullying, discrimination, sexual abuse, violence, child sexual abuse and exploitation through pornography.
Institutions and organisations are coming under increasing scrutiny for the way they respond to claims of abuse and, more broadly, for how they proactively shape their values, culture and processes to prevent abuse, respond to victims and contribute to a community wide culture of respect.â€
Williamstown Little Theatre is delighted that the VDL has taken such a strong leadership role in ensuring that community theatre companies have standards in place which we can hold each other accountable to.
In the next edition of this esteemed publication, we will include an article on how WLT is responding to the VDLâ€™s motion above. I would welcome any input from WLT members as to how we can better contribute to the VDLâ€™s vision for a safer and more respectful theatre community.
In the meantime, enjoy spring â€“ and enjoy Buffalo Gal!!
See you in the foyer.