Today, representing the Theatrical Producers League of Los Angeles, I took a meeting with my friends at the LA Stage Alliance and LA Theatre Network. The topic? Not In Our House, a Chicago-based movement that sprung up as a response to physical, mental, and sexual abuse against artists in intimate Chicago theaters. Specifically, it was decades of institutionalized abuse at the recently-shuttered Profiles Theatre in Chicago that gave rise to this movement. So, why are three LA-based and LA-focused organizations talking about recent events in Chicago? Because unfortunately, abuses like these aren't confined to one region. Sadly, they're universal, and something must be done about them.
In L.A., you hear stories about unscrupulous producers soliciting nude photos of actors "for casting purposes," or holding "improv rehearsals" in the director/producer's hot tub. Naked.
Yeah, you read that last part right. I'mma let you steep in that for a moment.
Now, there've always been casting couch stories. But that doesn't make them acceptable. It just means we've sucked at taking care of ourselves and our community.
So, what can an actor, or any artist involved in a production, do when they're confronted with a situation like this?
Well, that's why we met today, and why we're announcing a larger community town hall for September 12th. Save the date. Start time will probably be 8pm. I'm firming up the location as I write this.
I will be on the panel that evening, representing the League, and talking about the League's Standards and Best Practices document, which all League theaters adhere to, and our grievance process, which gives artists a path of recourse to resolve issues with a producer.
Photo Credit: The cover photo for this entry is of a meeting of Not In Our House in Chicago, taken by Chicago Tonight, WTTW.