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#MeToo imageA community forum in the drama building Friday will address sexual misconduct in the theatre industry.

Forum to consider sexual harassment in theatre industry

After recent allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct in the Canadian theatre industry, her students were asking questions about the issue, says drama professor Michelle MacArthur.

She and her colleagues in the School of Dramatic Art have decided to address these concerns with a community forum about making rehearsal halls, classrooms, and theatre spaces safe and equitable for everyone.

“#TimesUp/Now What? Taking Action in Theatre after #metoo” will feature a panel conversation at 4 p.m. Friday, January 19, in the Studio Theatre, Jackman Dramatic Art Centre.

“This comes on the heels of accusations against Albert Schultz, artistic director and co-founder of Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company,” says Dr. MacArthur.

Four women filed civil lawsuits describing him as a “serial sexual predator,” prompting his resignation as artistic director earlier this month.

“This really opened up a conversation in the Canadian theatre community about why these incidents happen and what we need to change,” MacArthur says. “We want to respond to our students’ concerns about the industry and empower them to be agents of change.”

She will facilitate the discussion between panelists:

  • Carol Branget, counsellor with the Sexual Assault Crisis Centre of Windsor;
  • Dusty Johnstone, UWindsor Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Officer;
  • Tina Pugliese, director of the School of Dramatic Art;
  • Gina Lori Riley, associate professor, School of Dramatic Art; and
  • Emily Rosser, co-ordinator of the Bystander Initiative to End Sexual Violence

on questions of how to negotiate consent and intimacy and how to enforce change in the professional field.

A community discussion aimed at identifying concrete actions to change the industry and artistic practice for the better will follow.

The event is free and open to the public. To indicate intention to attend, RSVP by January 18 to drama@uwindsor.ca.