In late 2017, OpenStage Theatre and Company's Board of Directors began to explore the need for a comprehensive set of standards to address and combat harassment. This was in response to a nationwide conversation that's been developing around harassment in general, specifically in arts and entertainment. On December 4, 2017, the Board of Directors approved the creation of a Harassment Task Force to develop the policy.
The task force's research led them to a set of policies called the Chicago Theatre Standards – or CTS – developed by numerous representatives of the Chicago theatre community over a two year period. The Chicago Theatre Standards is an exhaustive document that addresses not only issues of harassment and bullying, but many other operational standards for theatre companies that choose to adopt it. As the CTS states:
The initiative to create the Chicago Theatre Standards (CTS) was born of artists and administrators at all levels of our community working together toward a cultural paradigm shift away from turning a blind eye to sexual harassment, discrimination, violence, intimidation and bullying in our theatres and towards mentoring, prevention, and accountability.
The CTS is an open source document that any theatre company is free to adopt, use, and adapt for their own purposes. The OpenStage task force chose not to adapt the standards in full, instead opting to focus in on issues of harassment and high-risk productions, particularly those involving simulated violence, nudity, and sexual content. After seven months of work, the task force presented the standards to the Board of Directors for approval, and the Board approved and adopted the standards on July 9, 2018.
In the spirit of the CTS, it is our hope that other theatre companies freely adopt, use, and adapt the standards that we have developed, if they so choose, so that we may all foster a safer theatre community throughout Northern Colorado and around the country.
This set of policies applies to all who do work for or on behalf of OpenStage Theatre and Company, including, but not limited to: actors, designers, production staff, paid and volunteer staff, contractors, members of the Board of Directors, sponsors, donors, vendors, and audience members.
If you have any questions regarding these standards, please contact:
Task Force Chair, Concern Resolution Facilitator for 2023-2024 Season
Sydney Parks Smith
Producing Artistic Director