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Riot Act, Inc. – Theater Standards

Based on the Chicago Theatre Standards, Riot Act, Inc. announces the adoption of its own Theater Standards. While not a legal document, the Standards create a set of guidelines to create a safe and creative environment for all theatrical participants.  In addition to the Standards, we will now require anyone in a power position within a production (i.e. director, stage manager, producer, etc.) to take a class to make sure they understand and know how to utilize the Standards in their theatrical work.

Arts environments require risk, courage, vulnerability, and investment of our physical, emotional and intellectual selves.  Riot Act, Inc. has a history of authenticity and risk on our stages.   We are proud of that legacy and seek to nurture spaces with strong safety nets that support that ethos without compromising a visceral and authentic experience for artists and audiences.

When creative environments are unsafe, both the artist and the art can be compromised.  Spaces that prize “raw”, “violent”, and otherwise high-risk material can veer into unsafe territory if there are no procedures for prevention, communication, and response.  Without these procedures, artists are afraid to respond to abusive or unsafe practices, particularly in a situation of power differential between the people involved.  Artists worry that speaking out could ruin a show or harm their reputation, they do not want to let their colleagues down.  When subjected to extreme abuse, they even sometime leave the artform behind, cutting their careers short.  We believe that even in the absence of high-risk material, having protocols and procedures in place to prevent abuse, harassment, and coercion allow us to maintain of work integrity, a safe and respectful environment, and ultimately allow everyone involved to bring their best work to the table.

This document‘s purpose is to create awareness and systems that respect and protect humans in art fostering safe places to do dangerous things.  We seek to adopt similar standards created by theater practitioners in Chicago and throughout the nation.  It is meant to be flexible and accommodate as many types and styles of theatre, budgets, and environments as possible.  

The overriding tenets are communication, safety, respect, and accountability.

We seek to foster awareness of what artists should expect.  By adopting these standards, Riot Act, Inc. states its intention to live and work by them and therefore create a safe and respectful artistic working environment.