As the leadership of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, we want to unequivocally state our support for the many efforts that are being made to root out sexual harassment and sexual abuse in the American theatre. As part of that effort, we are working with our membership to make clear that everyone has a right to a safe workplace and also the responsibility for fostering a safe working environment for all involved in the making of theatre. We are in the midst of working with our members, other theatre representatives, and third-party experts to ensure that SDC is proactive within the industry in addressing this serious issue and creating a safer environment for all.
While we appreciate and commend your decision to publish your #TheatreToo issue (Sept. ’18), we feel that American Theatre magazine has done the field a disservice with its September cover art. By deploying the cliché of a director’s chair in the art you commissioned and published, the magazine has taken a problem that is field-wide, and which crosses many disciplines and power structures, and focused blame at the feet of a single player. Had you chosen any other collaborator we would have had a similar response, as you have oversimplified a deeply complex and problematic dynamic that we all agree must come to an end.
We believe our colleagues know that inappropriate behavior is not solely a “director” problem, and that perpetrators of sexual assault or workplace misconduct of any kind, and their victims and survivors, exist in almost every peer group in the theatre community. In order for the theatre to be effective in this moment, we encourage all collaborators to be open to working together to address this issue as a community. We have the same goals, which is to protect our colleagues throughout the field, so together we must find a more rigorous way to address the work ahead.
Pam MacKinnon, President
John Rando, Executive Vice President
Michael John Garcés, First Vice President
Michael Wilson, Treasurer
Evan Yionoulis, Secretary
The Executive Committee of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
Based on the strength of the content and the example of its intervention, I decided to make the entire September 2018 issue of American Theatre the kick-off reading for my “Theater & Society Now” class at Princeton. The students will receive a copy on the first day of class and will be required to read the entire issue, cover to cover, in advance of the following class meeting. I’m also requiring a TCG student membership as a core requirement/text for the course.
Brian Eugenio Herrera
Associate Professor of Theatre
The Joys of Joy
Thank you for your lovely appreciation of the invincible Bay Area treasure Joy Carlin. I would, however, like to correct an error in the chronology. Joy was no longer an associate artistic director of American Conservatory Theater by the time I arrived in 1992; the only AAD left at that time (the post-earthquake years) was Benny Sato Ambush. However, I was delighted to meet Joy (already a legend) soon afterwards, and in my second season, she memorably joined three other beloved ACT stalwarts (Ruth Kobart, Raye Birk, and Bill Patterson) in a production of David Story’s Home that I directed. Those four actors taught me everything I needed to know about the breadth and depth of the acting tradition at ACT. Home remains one of my happiest experiences at ACT, and I have loved and admired Joy ever since.
Artistic Director Emerita
American Conservatory Theater