ACTORS BRIDGE ENSEMBLE THEATER OF NASHVILLE, INC.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR CONTRACTORS
Equal Employment Opportunity Policy, Non-Harassment Policy, Rehearsal and Performance Policy for Sensitive Content
For the purposes of this document, a CONTRACTOR is any actor, director, stage manager, designer, operator, house manager, or other position contracted for work on any production in the Actors Bridge Season, any instructor contracted to teach in the Actors Bridge Acting School OR any Act Like a GRRRL co-leader.
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY POLICY
Actors Bridge believes that all individuals are entitled to equal employment opportunity and does not discriminate against its employees, applicants for employment, or contractors because of race, color, creed, sex, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, military or veteran status, marital status, or any other status or characteristic protected by law. This policy applies to all terms, conditions, privileges, and practices of employment and contracting, including: Establishing minimum qualifications required for jobs; recruiting; interviewing; hiring; assignment of duties; training; promotion; compensation; performance requirements and appraisals; discipline and termination; and maintaining a working environment free from harassment.
Actors Bridge is firmly committed to providing a work environment in which employees and contractors are treated with respect, fairness, and dignity, and which is free from harassment of any kind, including race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, pregnancy, disability, age, uniform service member status, veteran status, marital status, membership in a domestic partnership, gender identity (including sex stereotyping), genetic information, medical condition (including but not limited to, cancer-related or HIV/AIDS-related), sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs and any other protected characteristic under applicable federal, state and local laws.
Actors Bridge will not tolerate any form of harassment in the workplace. Failure to comply with this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination and/or dismissal.
The use of Actors Bridge facilities, property, or equipment (including social media, e-mail and voice mail) to send, distribute, duplicate, store, or display harassing materials is prohibited.
In enacting this policy, it is not Actors Bridge’s intent to discourage social interaction in the workplace. To the contrary, the workplace should be a friendly and welcoming environment. The intent of this policy is for employees and contractors to think about what they say and do in
the workplace and to use a common sense approach in dealing with each other. At all times, employees and contractors should treat each other with respect and dignity.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that undermines the integrity of the employment and/or contract relationship. No contractor should be subject to unsolicited or unwelcome sexual overtures or conduct, whether verbal, physical, or visual. Sexual harassment does not refer to casual conversation or compliments of a socially acceptable nature. It refers to behavior of a sexual nature which is unwelcome and which:
(1) explicitly or implicitly makes submission to unwelcome sexual advances or other conduct of a sexual nature (verbal, physical, or visual) a term or condition of employment or the basis of an employment decision (such as getting or keeping a job; getting a promotion, a raise, or some other job benefit; or avoiding an adverse job consequence, such as being fired or demoted); or
(2) is so severe or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment or interferes with the ability to do one’s job.
No manager or supervisor may threaten or suggest, either explicitly or implicitly, that any contractor’s submission to or rejection of sexual advances will in any way influence any decision regarding that contractor’s continued employment, performance evaluation, compensation, advancement, assigned duties, status in the workplace, or other terms or conditions of employment. In addition, Actors Bridge will not tolerate a sexually hostile environment. Such conduct – whether committed by supervisors, co-workers, customers, patrons, vendors, or visitors – is specifically prohibited, regardless of whether the contractor’s job, compensation, or other benefits are affected.
Sexual harassment can come from people of the same or opposite sex. Any person can be either the victim or perpetrator of sexual harassment. Any contractor found to have violated this policy will be subject to severe disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
Actors Bridge strongly believes that a work environment where contractors maintain clear boundaries between personal and business interactions is most effective for creative production to thrive.
In order to minimize the risk of conflicts of interest and promote fairness, Actors Bridge maintains the following policy with respect to romance in the workplace:
No supervisor (directors, producers, stage managers, instructors) shall have or pursue a romantic or sexual relationship with any contractor who reports to the supervisor or over whom the supervisor has the authority and/or responsibility to hire, promote, discipline, evaluate, assign or direct. If such a relationship exists prior to contracting with Actors Bridge, both the involved supervisor and involved contractor shall report such relationship to the Producing Artistic Director who shall take appropriate steps consistent with this policy, including the removal of any reporting or similar relationship between the supervisor and the contractor.
Upon request, Actors Bridge may grant exceptions to this policy if it determines that the relationship 1) existed prior to the professional relationship between the parties at Actors Bridge, and 2) does not present a likelihood of abuse of power by or exploitation of either party.
For pre-existing relationships between supervisors and contractors, workplace dating must not interfere with any contractor’s professionalism, including treating others with respect and refraining from behavior that may make others feel uncomfortable (for example, overt physical displays of affection and use of sexual language). In particular, personnel in management roles are expected to set a high standard of professional conduct both at work and in social settings sponsored by Actors Bridge. For this reason, management personnel should refrain from social interaction with those who report to them which might be perceived as inappropriate (e.g.: unwanted flirting, touching or other behavior that may be regarded as sexual harassment).
Pre-existing relationships should be disclosed to the Producing Producing Artistic Director in writing (via email) prior to first rehearsal.
REHEARSAL AND PERFORMANCE POLICY FOR SENSITIVE CONTENT
Sexual Content and Nudity
Actors Bridge is committed to creating a safe environment in which all theater makers can take bold artistic risks. To that end, we believe an atmosphere of trust and open communication is paramount.
For plays containing Sexual Content and Nudity (SC/N), the contact will be described in detail at auditions so that actors can make an informed decision as to whether they are comfortable auditioning for the roles.
All plays involving SC/N will be assigned an intimacy choreographer who is not also serving as director or stage manager. It is the job of the intimacy choreographer to stage scenes involving SC/N, attend to the physical and emotional safety of the actors involved, stage believable scenes while protecting the well being of the ensemble, maintain open communication among all involved parties.
When rehearsing scenes involving SC/N, the actors, director, intimacy choreographer, and stage manager will discuss the content and develop a plan for rehearsals. Participants will create a consent plan, discuss boundaries and determine a safe word before beginning any rehearsal of SC/N scenes. Stage manager should document the terms of consent and details of sexual choreography and be present for every SC/N rehearsal.
All rehearsals with SC/N should be closed, such that only the participating actors, stage manager, director and choreographer are present until such time as mutually agreed upon by all participants. At the end of every SC/N rehearsal, participating actors should have a designated opportunity to discuss potential boundary concerns. If boundaries shift during the rehearsal process (either broadening or narrowing), these shifts should be discussed and documented to ensure all parties understand and agree to the changing terms. As part of the rehearsal plan for SC/N, participants should determine alternate choreography for sick days (sore throat, cold
sore, etc.). It is the actors responsibility to inform the stage manager and their scene partner(s) if they are unwell prior to any rehearsal or performance of intimate contact.
*See Appendix A for SC/N Checklist.
Inclusion and Representation
Actors Bridge is committed to telling the stories Nashville needs to hear. Many times, these stories include experiences of violence, racism, homophobia, and other challenging content. We seek to create a safe environment to produce culturally sensitive work. When staging scenes of cultural violence, or other culturally charged narratives and language, we will follow the same practice of consent building and closed rehearsals outlined in the Sexual Content and Nudity (SC/N) section above.
*See Appendix B for Sensitive Content procedures.
Any contractors who feel they have been subjected to any kind of unwanted harassment must report the incident immediately to the Producing Artistic Director. All complaints received will be promptly investigated. Information will be kept confidential to the greatest extent possible, consistent with the Actors Bridge’s obligation to investigate and respond to complaints of harassment. A contractor will not be retaliated against for participating in an investigation or for filing a claim of harassment in good faith – even if the allegations cannot be substantiated. Contractors should be aware that allegations of harassment are very serious. No contractor may knowingly and intentionally make a false allegation of harassment in order to harass, intimidate, or retaliate against another individual.
ACTORS BRIDGE REPRESENTATIVES IN REHEARSAL
As an actor-training program and professional theater company, Actors Bridge takes very seriously the quality of acting on our stages. While we train actors in the Meisner Technique, we understand that not all contracted performers and directors will share that specific vocabulary and way of working. However, we do expect all performances to be grounded in authenticity, emotional connection, and responding to behavior in the moment. To that end, it is our policy to have one of our Meisner Instructors serve as Acting Coach on all our productions. We intend for the Acting Coach to be of service to the director and an extension of the director’s vision. The Acting Coach will communicate with the director for discussion and approval before giving notes to actors. Other Actors Bridge representatives may attend rehearsals to support various aspects of production and promotion.
Actors Bridge Ensemble Theater of Nashville, Inc. is a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization.
Producing Artistic Director Vali Forrister may be reached by phone at (615) 498-4077 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org Mailing address is 4610 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, TN 37209
CHECKLIST FOR THE REHEARSAL AND PERFORMANCE OF SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY
Stage Manager: ________________________________________________
Intimate Choreographer: _________________________________________
___Actors, Director, Stage Manager, Intimacy Choreographer discussed content and developed plan for
SC/N rehearsals including: ____ Consent Plan ____ Boundaries ____ Safe Word
___ All SC/N rehearsals are closed except for: ___ Participating Actors
___ Stage Manager
___ Intimacy Choreographer
until date to be determined and mutually agreed upon by all parties named above.
Closed rehearsals until __________________________________ (date).
___ Each SC/N rehearsal will have time for debriefing concerns.
____ Boundary shifts during rehearsal (broadening or narrowing) will be discussed and documented. ____ Alternate choreography for sick days will be included in rehearsal plan.
____ Actors know to inform Stage Manager and Scene Partner(s) if they are unwell prior to any SC/N rehearsal.
____ Conflict resolution plan is in place and has been communicated to all parties.
(This is typically a 3-step approach: 1. Talk directly to the person with whom the conflict has arisen. 2. Tell the Stage Manager, Director or Intimacy Choreographer. 3. Contact Actors Bridge Producing Artistic Director. But, each process can differ based on the needs of the group as long as it is clearly articulated, agreed upon and includes contacting ABE artistic director when needed.)
PROCEDURE FOR THE REHEARSAL AND PERFORMANCE OF SENSITIVE CONTENT
Production: ______________________________________________________ Director: ______________________________________________________ Stage Manager: ________________________________________________ Actors: ______________________________________________________ Actors Bridge Acting Coach: _____________________________________
The rehearsal and performance of sensitive content such as experiences of violence, racism, homophobia, and other challenging content, can be triggering to performers who must enact these scenes with authenticity. Actors Bridge seeks to create a safe environment for performers to take bold risks. This includes having a clear plan for the safe processing of conflict triggered by the sensitive content.
For this production, there is a conflict resolution plan in place for disputes between or among contractors. It is a 3-step plan:
1. Talk directly to the person with whom the conflict has arisen. 2. Tell the Stage Manager or Director.
3. Contact Actors Bridge Producing Producing Artistic Director.
For individual concerns triggered by the rehearsal and performance of sensitive content, contractors may contact the Actors Bridge representative serving as acting coach on the production.
____ Conflict resolution plan is in place and has been communicated to all parties. ____ Actors Bridge representative identified and communicated to all parties.