OpenStage Theatre and Company has adopted The Chicago Theatre Standards Harassment Policy as the basis for our own policy.  This policy is one of the few of its kind in the nation, and the authors have graciously made it available to anyone who wishes to adapt it for their own use.

The aim of the OST Harassment Policy is to adopt procedures to prevent and respond to unsafe and/or abusive events, environments or individuals. If there is a fight scene in the show, there will also be a qualified choreographer. If there’s a sex scene in the show, parameters will be agreed upon and safeguards will be put in place to maintain them.

An important component of the OST Harassment Policy is the Concern Resolution Path. This is a three-tiered list of people who you can contact if you feel uncomfortable or have any concerns throughout this production process. You have received a printed copy of the Concern Resolution Path with contact information for everyone on the path. This document will also be posted in the rehearsal and dressing rooms for your reference. I’d like to ask everyone on the path to introduce themselves.

The OST Harassment Policy contains a number of pledges that we, the producing theater, make to you. Among these is a welcoming environment free of harassment and discrimination.

Since a positive environment is a team effort, we’d like to take this opportunity to read the definitions of harassment aloud to make sure we have a shared understanding.

Harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Inappropriate or insulting remarks, gestures, jokes, innuendoes or taunting about a person's racial or ethnic background, color, place of birth, citizenship, ancestry, creed, or disability,
  2. Unwanted questions or comments about an Artist’s private life,
  3. Posting or display of materials, articles, or graffiti, etc. which may cause humiliation, offence or embarrassment on prohibited grounds.
  4. Sexual Harassment:
    1. One or a series of comments or conduct of a gender-related or sexual nature that is known or ought reasonably be known to be unwelcome/unwanted, offensive, intimidating, hostile or inappropriate. Artists have the right to be free from:
      1. Sexual solicitation or advance made by a person in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement,
      2. Reprisal or threat of reprisal for the rejection of a sexual solicitation or advance where the reprisal is made by a person in a position to grant, confer, or deny a benefit or advancement.
    2. Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to:
      1. Unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendoes or taunting about a person's body, attire, gender, or sexual orientation,
      2. Unwanted touching or any unwanted or inappropriate physical contact such as touching, kissing, patting, hugging or pinching,
      3. Unwelcome enquiries or comments about a person's sex life or sexual preference,
      4. Leering, whistling, or other suggestive or insulting sounds,
      5. Inappropriate comments about clothing, physical characteristics or activities,
      6. Posting or display of materials, articles, or graffiti, etc. which is sexually oriented,
      7. Requests or demands for sexual favors which include, or strongly imply, promises of rewards for complying (e.g., job advancement opportunities, and/or threats of punishment for refusal (e.g., denial of job advancement or opportunities).

All or part of the above grounds may create a negative environment for individuals or groups. This may have the effect of "poisoning" the work environment. It should be noted that a person does not have to be a direct target to be adversely affected by a negative environment. It includes conduct or comment that creates and maintains an offensive, hostile, or intimidating climate.

The Concern Resolution Pathway (CRP)

The CRP documents communication pathways for resolving concerns before they get out of hand, to inform participants who to talk to if issues arise, to avoid repeated unsafe practices, and to mentor those who violate boundaries. The CRP and Concern Resolution Facilitator (CRF) are designed to provide confidential reporting channels that support and protect everyone, including the person/s that create concern. Gossiping with those outside the reporting channels, or creating an atmosphere of “heroes and villains” can result in an inability to use the document to mentor and resolve issues peacefully. There are gray areas on stage. People can get hurt physically and/or emotionally without there being a “bad guy.” In every possible situation, the CRP should be used to mentor participants, and nurture a positive and safe environment.

The Concern Resolution Facilitator (CRF)

The CRF is a confidential liaison (reporting channel) between participants, the stage manager, and others on the Concern Resolution Path. The CRF does not decide who’s right and wrong, or even necessarily solve problems, but helps to ensure that communication paths are open. The CRF cannot hold any other OST Company Office or otherwise be in a perceived position of power.  The CRF for the 2018-2019 Season will be appointed by elected Company Managers.

Oops and Ouch: One Way to Handle Negative Comments or Actions in Real Time


We’d like to suggest a system of “Ouch” and “Oops” for handling negative or unwanted comments in the moment. For instance:

Speaker A is trying too hard to be funny and makes a thoughtless remark. Speaker B says “Ouch!” This cues Speaker A to realize that the funny remark was potentially hurtful. Speaker A says “Oops” to indicate recognition and regret. Then there’s a Pause.

It’s up to the Ouch-caller whether this moment requires some conversation. So maybe there’s a conversation – or maybe the Ouch caller says “Cool, let’s move on.” But the decision to move on must come from the Ouch- caller.

Please note that anyone in the room can call “Ouch.” It does not have to come from the person who is the focus of the potentially hurtful remark. Sometimes you don't know there was an "ouch" until later in the day, or until after rehearsal, when you’ve had time to process.  You can bring it back the next day, or anytime.

If an experience ever feels larger than an Ouch-Oops moment, please consult the Concern Resolution Path (CRP) for the next course of action.