Theatre is an art form that requires physical, emotional, and intellectual vulnerability. I aim to work together with everyone in a production to develop and understand our boundaries, and to honor them, while creating a healthy space where vital work can be done, artistic risks can be taken, and vulnerability will be safeguarded.
The power dynamics that exist within a theatre and a production team can be used to exploit the vulnerability of artists. I approach work in a production using a consent-based process meant to build trust among all involved and mitigate the risk of harm.
Open communication is the foundation upon which we build the trust required to create a space in rehearsals and on stage that values all perspectives, and allows us to create and respect healthy boundaries. I pursue conversations, inside and outside of rehearsal, to develop and communicate the boundaries within which we will work. I will be available in-person when we gather, as well as by phone or email when outside rehearsals.
I will create opportunities before, during, and after rehearsal for artists to check-in with the production team and each other, as well as to create closure as needed for a healthy separation between art and artist.
There are often moments on stage that involve physical contact among scene partners. As a designer, I will collaboratively develop this contact in a consent-based way, choreographed with specificity, and used to serve a clear narrative purpose within the boundaries of all involved. These boundaries will be established ahead of rehearsing the moments, with as much context made available to the participants as possible. Notice of when rehearsal will include these moments will also be given as far in advance as possible.
While rehearsing, it is sometimes helpful for me to offer feedback that includes physical touch. This may be because it will be more efficient than verbal notes, or it may be to address specific technical or safety issues. If consent for that feedback is obtained, it will be given in a mindful, relevant way. If consent is not obtained, an alternate approach involving no touch will be used. No-touch alternatives are always available, and their request will always be honored.
— James Finley (he/him)
“Our workspaces must be safe places so dangerous things can happen, otherwise they are dangerous places where only safe things happen” – Peter Hinton
(Statement developed with help from Nicole Perry, Siobhan Richardson, and Peter Hinton)