The Theatre Bill of Rights

All theatrical artists shall be entitled to:
-Accurate scheduling/time management by staff so that time is not wasted.
No one should be subjected to hours upon hours on a call with nothing to do. While “holes” sometimes happen, they shouldn’t be a frequent thing. Having an someone be done early on a regular basis is also cause for concern since it results in wasted time at the end of a rehearsal. Plan ahead by knowing the approximate pace your artists work at and the difficulty of what you are working. The logistics of scheduling can make or break the strength of a show. Imagine having all that wasted time given back to you in tech week when you need it most. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, don’t waste it in the first place.

-A safe and usable place to rehearse/work.
In theatre, we have to adapt to our resources. But when it comes to rehearsal spaces, artists deserve a place where they can really work. Is it too hot? Too cold? Bright? Dim? Drafty? Moldy? Other things to consider… Concrete floors causing shinsplints for dancers/stage combatants, small rooms becoming over-crowded for rehearsals, having usable pianos for musical rehearsals or lifts/ladders/scaffolds for technicians, keys for access to other rooms, usable sound equipment etc. Bottom line: Can this room do the job for the artists so that they can do their job for the show?

-Clear and collaborative direction from creative staff given in a pleasant manner.
Artists are fascinating creatures. At any given moment, their emotional/impulsive compass can point in one direction with such strength that they throw themselves forward without thought. Often, it leads to a great discovery. Sometimes, it doesn’t. When the latter happens, it is the responsibility of the creative staff to guide the artist, not close them in or spoon-feed them. Creative personnel deserve to make choices, albeit intelligent ones under the direction of the people in charge. They should expect firmness and decisiveness, but they are also entitled to kindness and compassion.

-Respect for their skills.
When an actor/director/designer is chosen for a place on a creative project, they were chosen for a reason. Therefore, it is not anyone’s place (other than the person in charge) to discuss or debate that person’s input. Keep petty things under wraps, and do the work you have been designated to do.

-A “drama” free zone.
Again, theatrical artists are potent vessels of emotions. Get enough of them churned up and watch the show go down in flames. Therefore, whatever crossed your path during the day, whatever is gnawing at you, whoever is getting under your skin, check it at the door and come in ready to work. Everyone is expecting that of you, so do not waste their time by being distracted (or worse) by transferring that negativity onto others.

These are simple and basic categories, but they encompass a tremendous swath of things that everyone in theatre deserves to have. There are probably things that have been missed, but that is up for you to decide. Have anything to add? Comment below or discuss on our Facebook page.
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