Mission Statement: Patio is a non-profit community service organization dedicated to providing entertainment for the Southern California community, to creating opportunities for people of talent and interest who wish to participate and/or perform and to providing training for individuals who wish to learn about theater art.
Diversity Statement: Patio Playhouse asserts its dedication to diversity and inclusion of all people, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability or social status. Patio Playhouse is intent on advancing equality and diversity be it on stage, back stage, designing, production, operations or any other activity or sphere of influence. Patio Playhouse believes that everyone deserves equal opportunity, to be treated with respect and dignity, to receive encouragement to reach their full potential and to be free from discrimination.
Statement on Consent: Patio Playhouse is dedicated to integrating consent-based practices into all operational and production environments. In all Patio Playhouse related activities, all participants are expected to abide by the Procedures and Best Practices as laid out in the Patio Playhouse Policies and Procedures on Diversity, Inclusion and Consent.
Concern Resolution Path
The goal of the Concern Resolution Path is to provide a documented pathway to address issues in a production or within the theater. The CRP seeks to inform participants what to do and who to address with serious issues and dispel the fear of reprisal for reporting issues of safety, harassment or other serious concerns.
What is a concern resolution path?
The CRP provides the names and contact information for members of the organization and production who have agreed to be responsive to reported issues and work to resolve them and a clear, written, list of procedures for addressing a concern.
- Level one — We recognize that many concerns can be resolved through conversation with the parties involved. Whenever possible participants should b encouraged to discuss challenges and concerns with one another. Sharing and hearing concerns with openness and respect can prevent situations from escalating further.
- Level two — The following participants should be granted a certain level of authority and trust to determine whether a concern can be resolved at this level or if it needs to be sent to the next level. All concerns should be reported to Level three, even if no action is required.
- Non-Equity Deputy (NED)
- Stage Manager
- Level three — These participants should be considered the final level of the path, capable of resolving issues that have not been resolved prior to reaching this stage. They are strongly advised to consult with each other and review legal or other implications of any decision.
- Artistic Director
- General Manager
- Members of the Board of Directors
The CRP should be verbally explained and provided at the first rehearsal (or shortly thereafter) digitally (with a print copy available upon request). A copy should be posted in the theater/rehearsal space if possible. Participants should be encouraged to report their concerns in writing for record-keeping purposes.
- The CRP is a tool to help create communication pathways to prevent and resolve issues, not create divisions. To that end, nothing in the CTS encourages firing or marginalizing participants for mistakes.
- The CRP is designed to provide pathways to respond to events, behavior, and conditions that create reasonably unsafe conditions, or uncomfortable situations. The function and goal of the CRP should be discussed at the first rehearsal.
- All individuals listed on the CRP should understand their role in resolving concerns, the process for recording concerns and the process for reporting those concerns to others on the path.
The following template can be used to create a unique CRP for each production.
As the primary conduit of communication between the participants and production team, the Stage Manager will play a crucial role in the execution of these policies and procedures. Any potential Stage Managers should be notified of this document and have access to the script (or known scope of the production) before they agree to participate.
The Stage Manager’s responsibilities in regards to this document are:
- Read and be familiar with these policies and procedures.
- Know and follow the production’s CRP.
- Ensure that consent is discussed prior to rehearsing scenes with sexual content or nudity and document applicable specifics.
- Document all choreography including fights, violence or sexual content and be present at all rehearsals where this choreography is rehearsed.
- Provide for the selection of the Non-Equity Deputy (NED) during the first week of rehearsal and include the NED in any communication regarding the safety of the space or participants.
- Work with and communicate with the NED, particularly regarding any raised concern.
The Non-Equity Deputy
The Non-Equity Deputy (NED) is a confidential and peer-level liaison and reporting channel between participants and the producer. This role is inspired by the “Equity Deputy” required by the Actor’s Equity union, however the NED does not report to an outside organization. The NED is a resource to navigate these policies and is a reporting channel for other participants when confidentiality is required or requested.
Role and responsibilities of the NED
- Be familiar with this document and the CRP and help others familiarize themselves with them.
- Provide contact information and availability for consultation outside of rehearsal/performance times.
- Serve as a liaison between the cast, crew, stage manager, and production team for issues brought to their attention by participants.
- Protect anonymity wherever possible.
- Report concerns, both their own and those reported by fellow participants, using the CRP, and communicate the resolution of such concerns whenever appropriate.
- Respond to concerns as quickly as possible.
- Commit with integrity and empathy to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of all participants and discourage efforts (intentional or otherwise) to use these policies and procedures to divide or create an atmosphere of “heroes and villains.”
- Engage the CRP when the stage manager is unable, unwilling or is a person of concern.
- Understand that their role is not to solve problems or act in a judiciary role, but to serve as a confidential reporting channel and liaison.
- Understand that this is a role of service and not a position of power or status.
- The NED is not to override the traditional roles of the stage manager, director or any other member of the organization.
- The NED should never create divisions or marginalize participants.
- Members of the production team, current or past members of the Patio Playhouse Board of Directors or others with long-standing connection to the theater should be disqualified from engaging the role of NED.
Diversity, Inclusion and Representation
In an effort to create a safe working space for all and to uphold the commitments made in our Diversity Statement, while understanding that telling stories of complex human experience will often include representations of violence, racism, homophobia, abuse, and other challenging content, we strive to do the following to the best of our ability:
- Welcome questions from participants about how their personhood will be used within a production and provide a thoughtful response. These inquiries will remain confidential.
- Allow participants to withdraw from a production without fear of reprisal should they feel unsafe or misrepresented.
- Consider diversity and inclusion in casting and assembling of production and design teams, particularly in work that is culturally specific.
- During the rehearsal process, address any concerns or discomfort surrounding the use of a participants cultural personhood which were not disclosed at the time of auditions and could not have been expected by a reading of the script or other available materials, which may include:
- Costume pieces that can reasonably be understood as culturally demeaning.
- Staging of culturally based violence or abuse.
- Accents or dialects to underscore a cultural representation.
- Make-up that can reasonably be described as “black face,” “brown face,” or similar portrayal.
- When staging scenes of cultural violence or other culturally charged narratives or language, we will follow the same consent guidelines outlined in the following section titled Choreography. Disclosure of this type of performance will be made at the audition, and the emotional risk associated will be recognized throughout the process.
- To address concerns with generosity and humility through the channels of the Concern Resolution Path as outlined in this document.
Harassment includes but is not limited to:
- Inappropriate or insulting remarks, gestures, jokes, or innuendoes or taunting about a person’s gender, gender identity, sexual identity, racial or ethnic background, color, place of birth, citizenship, ancestry, creed or ability.
- Persistent unwanted questions or comments about a participant’s private life outside the boundaries of consent established in rehearsal.
- Posting or displaying materials, articles, graffiti, and so on, which may cause humiliation, offense, or embarrassment on prohibited grounds that are outside of the parameters of the production. (A production about pornography, violence, or racism may involve such images in the rehearsal space or dramaturgy packet, but would be inappropriate for display in the dressing room, bathroom or other similar spaces.)
In a theatrical context, harassment also includes:
- One or a series of comments or conduct of a gender-related or sexual nature outside the boundaries of consent or production content, which is known or ought reasonably be known to be unwelcome/unwanted, offensive, intimidating, hostile, or inappropriate. It is worth noting that the higher the emotional/sexual risk a production asks of its artists, the greater the diligence of each member of the production and artistic teams is needed to foster an environment of emotional safety.
- Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to any of the following (outside the boundaries of consent or production content):
- Unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendoes, or taunts about a person’s body, attire, gender, or sexual orientation.
- Negative stereotyping of race, gender, gender identity, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, ability, or other status protected by law.
- Any unwanted or inappropriate physical contact such as touching, kissing, massaging, patting, hugging, or pinching.
- Unwelcome inquiries or comments about a person’s sex life or sexual preference.
- Leering, whistling, or other suggestive or insulting sounds.
- Inappropriate comments about clothing, physical characteristics, or activities.
- Posting or displaying materials, articles or graffiti that is sexually oriented.
- Requests or demands for sexual favors, especially those that include, or imply, promises of rewards for complying and/or threats of punishment for refusal.
- Attempting to engage in sexual behaviors off stage that are choreographed for the stage.
- Suggesting an actor who appears naked onstage or in rehearsal is not allowed physical boundaries and/or privacy backstage or in the dressing room and/or not respecting those boundaries.
- Intentional failure to observe the dressing room standards laid out in this document.
- Inviting an actor to rehearse sexual content outside the scheduled rehearsals.
- Repeated invitation/suggestion to take relationships of a sexual nature beyond the stage.
- Improvising sexual content without expressed, enthusiastic consent.
Participants have the right to be free from:
- Sexual solicitation or advance made by a person in a position to confer, grant, or deny a benefit or advancement outside production content.
- 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 outside production content.
Any of the behaviors outlined here have the potential to create a negative environment for individuals or groups. It should be noted that a person does not have to be a direct target to be adversely affected by a negative environment. It is understood that creative atmospheres are not always “emotionally sanitary”—they can safely be bawdy, profane, vulgar, and challenging. We assert that having (a) a practice of building consent and (b) an environment that allows for response to clear boundary violations can broaden our opportunity to be challenging and fearless in our work.
Concerns about harassment, safety, or a negative environment should be reported using the concern resolution path (starting with level one wherever possible), and all concerns should be treated with the utmost respect for the safety and wellbeing of all participants.
The audition notice is to be posted on the Patio Playhouse website and will include:
- A list of roles available and descriptions of each role, including any potential stage combat, feats of physical daring, nudity, partial nudity, sexual content, violence or if the role depicts a character with a specifically stated disability.
- Any culturally sensitive aspects to the production that may affect a participant’s desire to take part in the production.
- Any audience interaction or participation that will take place during the production.
- The nature of the activity to be performed at the audition or callback (i.e. prepared monologue, sides from the play, improvisation, choreography, etc.). If portraying acts of violence or sexual contact is expected at the audition, this will be disclosed in the audition notice.
- The names of the production team.
- If understudies will be engaged in the production and in what capacity.
- All relevant dates, including known rehearsals, technical rehearsals, performances, promotional events, etc.
- A copy of the Patio Playhouse Diversity Statement and a link to Patio Playhouse Policies and Procedures on Diversity, Inclusion and Consent.
We intend to provide a safe space for the audition, including:
- A smoke-free environment.
- A reasonably clean space with sufficient lighting and safe temperature.
- Reasonable accommodations to facilitate access including using accessible facilities and, if requested, providing audition materials in advance to artists with disabilities.
- The production team will ensure that the participant completes the Patio Playhouse Actor Agreement and will collect a list of conflict dates and the Audition Disclosure Form.
- We will not ask participants to perform acts of violence or sexual contact without disclosing in the audition notice AND all acts of violence and/or sexual contact will be choreographed. Participants will not be asked or allowed to improvise violent or sexual acts.
- Participants will not be asked to disrobe during an audition.
- We will not ask participants to attend more than three audition calls for a single production.
- We will provide access to all materials required to audition, including scripts and sides.
- We do not require a fee to audition for any production.
- Participants may decline audition invitations or casting offers without fear of losing future opportunities, and will not be required to explain their reason.
When understudy/ies are engaged by a production the participants can expect:
- That understudies will be included as a team member and be subject to the same benefits (including discounted or complimentary tickets) as other members of the production.
- Disclosure on whether there will be an “Understudy” performance, when that will take place, and whether a ‘put-in’ rehearsal will be scheduled.
- Disclosure of the policy for the understudy being prepared to step in for a role.
- If the character has any pre-recorded audio/video in the production that a backup recording will be created to use in the case of the understudy taking the stage.
Actor and crew Agreements
The Audition Disclosure Form and Actor Agreement will be collected from all participants at auditions. The Crew Agreement will be collected from the crew prior to any technical rehearsals.
Sample First Rehearsal Language
Basic Health and Safety
In an effort to limit the number of accidents and injuries, we endeavor to create a safe and healthy working environment for all of our participants. As part of that effort we will strive to:
- Provide clean toilets and sinks with soap and towels.
- Access to drinking water (or notice of a lack of availability)
- A reasonable working temperature, avoiding inclement weather.
- A reasonably clean and well-maintained rehearsal space.
- Floors and traffic routes that are free from undue obstructions or tripping hazards.
- Functional fire extinguishers.
- A suitably stocked first aid kit.
- A plan for costume maintenance and laundry.
- Notice of the following at first rehearsal and of any changes thereafter:
- Location of fire exits and fire extinguishers
- Location of first aid kits
- Location of restrooms
- Any potential tripping or safety hazards
- Scenic units, stage floor surfaces, and special effects
- Areas of potential hazard that may require glow tape, including an opportunity for actors and crew to advise on additional glow tape requirements.
If any of the above conditions cannot be met, it will be disclosed in advance.
Disclosure of Private Information
In order to maintain the safety and privacy of all participants, Patio Playhouse will limit the access to each participant’s personal information to only those who require it. This includes safe disposal of all audition materials, limiting access to production contact sheets, and obtaining consent before sharing contact info with another theater or production.
Patio Playhouse recognizes the need for performers to have a time and a space to prepare for performances, we will endeavor to create a dressing room environment that is safe, respectful and when possible private. We will also:
- Do our best to provide separate changing spaces or times for adults and minors.
- Exclude non-actors, (with the exception of stage managers and costume crew) from the dressing room 30 minutes before and after each performance.
- Forbid the use of recording devices or cameras, without the consent of all individuals present.
- Reasonably accommodate the preferences of all participants sharing a dressing room, including discussion of reviews or possible attendees of the production.
- Ask that all inhabitants of the dressing room respect the property and personhood of fellow inhabitants by limiting their use of perfumes, smelly or messy foods, and behavior such as talking on cell phones or playing music, or other similar activities.
- When separate dressing rooms are available for different genders, allow participants to occupy the dressing room in accordance with their gender identification.
- Any concerns related to the dressing rooms should be resolved using the Concern Resolution Path.
When an actor is cast in a production, they should come to their scheduled fitting prepared to participate in the fitting process at that time.
- Removal of street clothes down to undergarments (Actors are responsible for wearing opaque, neutral-tone, full-coverage undergarments to all fittings).
- The fitting of garments close to the body.
- Physical touch to adjust fit to designer specification.
- Interaction, including physical touch, by costumer.
The actor and costumer have the following tools in a fitting:
- Request a break from the fitting.
- Request a reduction in the number of people in the room.
- Request that the door be open or closed.
- Request to be fitted in an open or closed area of the shop.
- Request help or additional privacy for dressing or undressing.
Recognizing that some forms of theater and styles of movement carry with them a greater risk of harm than others, Patio Playhouse commits itself to the safety and well-being of all participants, to the best of our abilities. Whenever staging scenes that involve violence, sexual themes, nudity or another form of physical theater we shall aim to achieve the following.
Preproduction and Auditions
- Whenever possible, a trained choreographer shall be engaged to oversee the staging of scenes with violence, fighting, sexual contact or themes, nudity or other forms of physical theater. If this person is a member of the cast or the production/design team, that information should be communicated early and clearly to the other participants. These choreographers should be included in production meetings and planning as early as possible.
- At the time of auditions, prospective participants should be informed of:
- The nature of any specialized movement or physical theater (i.e. fighting, weapons, sexual violence, dance, tumbling, etc.) acknowledging that concepts may change.
- The name of any engaged choreographers, if possible.
- The choreographer should be introduced at the first rehearsal, or as soon as possible thereafter.
- A schedule for rehearsing all choreography should be established and followed.
- Adequate time should be allocated to teach, rehearse and adjust all choreography.
- Time should be allowed for adequate warm up, stretching, and mental preparedness prior to any choreography work. As well as time for cooling down, asking questions, and voicing concerns.
- Prior to any choreography, all participants should use the Boundary Practice in order to establish consent. (See Boundary Practice addendum)
- A choreography captain should be chosen (typically a member of the cast) to ensure that the choreography is rehearsed and doesn’t change unintentionally. This captain is empowered to inform the stage manager or choreographer if there are any issues with the choreography.
- Time should be set aside prior to any rehearsal to run any choreography, particularly before running the show.
- Actors are encouraged to communicate any injury, discomfort, or fatigue before, during, or after rehearsal.
- The director, choreographer and actors should agree on a vocabulary of safety prior to any choreography work.
- Choreography calls should occur before every performance, led by the captain and should take place in a focused environment, free of distraction.
- Performers should have a communication plan with the stage manager to report (ASAP) any inappropriate or potentially unsafe changes in the performance of choreography and/or use of equipment or weapons.
- The stage manager should check in with performers before and after performances in regards to consent and boundaries to ensure choreography is maintained and nothing has been overstepped.
- If any choreography is altered during a performance, actors should notify the stage manager or NED as soon as possible.
Considerations for Staging Violence
Onstage violence can be a shove, slap, weapon combat, choreographed physical combat, sexual violence, stylized violence and more. Choreography should ensure that performers do not routinely incur pain, bruises, or other injury while enacting violence. Steps should be taken to prepare for and mitigate the physical and emotional risks of onstage violence and create a safe space to take those risks.
- A fight captain should be employed and, if possible, should not be involved in the choreography so that they are able to observe the choreography from the outside to ensure the choreography is safe and followed by all participants.
- The stage manager and/or fight captain should have a good line of sight to any fight choreography so it can be monitored during rehearsal and performance.
Considerations for Staging Sexual Content/Nudity
Scenes that include Sexual Content (including stylized sexual content) or Nudity (SC/N) ask performers to take significant personal risk and Patio Playhouse commits itself to mitigating that risk before rehearsals begin, during rehearsals, during performances and after the end of a production. We are committed to providing an environment that is safe, supportive, and as comfortable as possible and aim to only include SC/N choreography when it can be done responsibly and according to the following recommendations.
Preproduction and Auditions
- Patio Playhouse will not schedule any productions that contain SC/N without a plan on how to safely stage it.
- SC/N will not be required or requested at any audition or callback.
- Actors performing nude must be 18 years of age and provide proof of age at the audition.
- All participants in a production (production and design teams, actors, crew) should know about any SC/N prior to committing to working on a production.
- Directors, designers and/or choreographers cannot require or request the addition of any SC/N after the show has been cast.
- The Audition Disclosure Form collected at the time of auditions will include any SC/N planned for the production.
- Prior to rehearsing scenes with SC/N, all participants (actors, director, stage manager, choreographer) must discuss the content and create consent and establish boundaries, including a self care cue (such as ‘button’).
- Initial SC/N rehearsals should be closed, such that only participants in that scene are present. These rehearsals may be opened at a selected date agreed upon by the director, stage manager, choreographer, and participants.
- All participants, including stage manager, choreographer, director and production team are encouraged to use anatomical body descriptions and desexualized language (e.g. Act 2 Scene 2, not “the rape scene”).
- Stage managers should document the terms of consent and the details of the choreography.
- Prior to Opening Night, actors should complete an Actor’s Performance Consent Form, detailing the SC/N choreography in their own words and sign it. These forms should be kept on file by the producer or stage manager.
- Actors performing at any level of undress should have the option to wear a robe or other covering when not rehearsing.
- Actors may decline, without fear of retribution, any SC/N elements added after audition disclosure.
- Actors performing at any level of undress shall not be photographed or recorded on video without their express consent. Actors performing in the nude shall not be photographed or recorded on video at any time. These restrictions apply to rehearsals, tech, and performance.
- Nudity during technical rehearsals shall be limited to those times when it is absolutely necessary. Flesh colored clothing or a robe may be worn when nudity is not required.
- Technical rehearsals will be closed to visitors during scenes with SC/N.
- The stage manager should be vigilant in identifying and resolving potential physical hazards for nude actors, such as splinters and rough edges.
- Only participants whose presence is required should be present in the wings or any other backstage space with a view of the stage during scenes with SC/N.
We believe that building consent among participants is an important part of creating an atmosphere of trust and communication. We intend to recognize the following practices when building consent among participants:
- A consent building conversation, including the use of the boundary exercise, should be used to specify the range of acceptable contact.
- There should be an opportunity to discuss potential boundary violations at the end of each rehearsal and performance.
- The agreed-upon choreography for intimate contact shall be maintained once the show is in production.
- Actors should inform the stage manager and their scene partner(s) if they are sick and alternate choreography should be defined for sick days. When possible, actors are encouraged to remain home when ill.
- Whenever possible, engage a trained intimacy coordinator for all scenes with SC/N.
Patio Playhouse Actor’s Performance Consent Form
Audience members are active and integral participants in live performance. Patio Playhouse seeks to create an environment in which artists and audiences can collaborate and share a space that is both safe for all and conducive to the theatrical experience.
Any instance where actors will interact with the audience in any way should be disclosed at the time of audition or as soon as known.
To the extent feasible, without disturbing the artistic integrity of the production, the nature of any audience interaction or other nontraditional audience environment should be communicated to the audience members before the performance begins. This will allow the audience to be a willing participant in the production and help to prevent any unexpected audience behavior. This will also allow audience members to make an informed choice based on their needs and comfort level. When possible, including a signal to the cast that an audience member is either willing or unwilling to participate in any interaction (designated seating areas, color-coded wrist bands, bead necklaces, etc.) should be employed.
The Stage Manager should meet with the Director on Duty prior to each performance to explain the audience configuration, expectations of audience engagement and anything else pertinent to the audience regarding that production.
A notice should be posted both on the website and at the theater if the production deals with sensitive material or anything that may cause alarm or health issues, including but not limited to:
- The use of theatrical fog.
- The use of strobe lights.
- The use of gunshots or explosions (live or recorded).
- Content of sexual nature.
- Content of violent nature.
- Content of cultural nature that may be considered demeaning.
- Content that may not be reasonably considered suitable for children.