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Royal Court to draw up industry code of behaviour to protect against sexual harassment

The theatre staged a day of action on the weekend to shine a light on sexual harassment in the industry

Vicky Featherstone
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

The Royal Court will put together a 'code of behaviour', with the intention of trying to stop sexual harassment in the theatre industry.

On Saturday the theatre staged No Grey Area, a day of action where people were invited to submit their personal stories of sexual harassment and abuses of power, which were then read out anonymously on the main stage. In the upstairs theatre, Town Hall Meetings took place where people discussed the best action to take.

As a result of the day, the theatre will be pulling together a code of behaviour to be used by all sections of the theatre industry.

Speaking at the event, Royal Court artistic director Vicky Featherstone said: "I am hoping that by the end of next week we will have released the first draft of a code of behaviour... which we will in its first draft adopt industry wide - in drama schools, casting rooms, in offices and more.

"There are certain very simple things that will be on it. An example is that it's not appropriate to say to an assistant: 'let's meet for a drink after work'. A lot of the things we come up with will be actually about stopping things at the first level."

She added: "We are going to be really fast about this, so we don't spend forever redrafting."

Featherstone said that other industry figures and venues had been supportive, including the National Theatre, which had approached Featherstone quickly after she initially tweeted about the response and responsibility the theatre industry had when faced with the Weinstein allegations.

People were invited to submit stories to No Grey Area anonymously to be read out and over five hours 150 stories were voiced on the main stage. Lucy Morrison, associate director at the venue who collated the stories said that the atmosphere was both "sad and heartbreaking" but that people were "excited for change".

Morrison said: "You can't sit through those stories and not feel really moved by the bravery of writing them and the bravery of surviving them. I feel really strongly that the way we've put this event together is about giving a space for [hearing the stories] and moving forward from it with action."

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