THEATRE ALLIANCE TOUCH AND INTIMACY POLICY
This policy covers the different types of touch that may occur during the rehearsal and performance of a production. “Touch” refers to physical contact. “Intimacy” is much broader, and can cover anything from closeness, such as the closeness required in a dance scene, or revealing articles of clothing. An “intimate event” is any time there is foreseeable physical touch, closeness, or other form of intimacy.
Theatrical Intimacy is the simulation of intimate physical acts for theatrical purposes.
Examples of Theatrical Intimacy include:
● Revealing Clothing
● Imaginative intimate moments, (moments where the actors are asked to portray moments of romantic chemistry between characters even when physical touch is not needed)
● Violent touch that is interpreted as an abusive physical, sexual and/or mental act
● Imaginative violent moments without touch (moments where violent mentally abusive behavior is portrayed but physical touch may not occur)
● Exposure of any performer’s breast, buttocks, pelvic/genital area.
● Nudity or partial nudity (including on-stage costume changes)
● Simulated intercourse
Theatrical Intimacy may also include heightened imaginative sexual or intimate circumstances for a character.
Theatre Alliance is dedicated to consent-based practices and is committed to taking appropriate action to ensure the comfort and safety of all participants. This policy implements best practices and procedures for the rehearsal and performance of scenes that may require touch or intimacy. Participants will be fully informed of the situations that may arise regarding an intimate event and given the opportunity to consent or withhold consent via the attached form. All participants, including directors, other actors, or other parties are encouraged to report any situation that they believe to be in violation of this policy.
In the interest of making the rehearsal and performance processes demonstrative of best pedagogical and professional practices for all concerned, Theatre Alliance requests its directors employ the following protocols:
At auditions, actors will be provided with information on all possible intimate or sexually violent moments in the production. Cast members are encouraged to document any personal boundaries. Potential cast members will be must complete the Touch Disclosure Form (now within our Online Audition Form itself), where they are to document any personal boundaries.
As for rehearsalls (and auditions, if applicable), the following rules and guidelines apply:
- If nudity is being staged, actors will have consented to staging this before casting.
- All theatrical intimacy, regardless of how simple or straight-forward it might be, must be choreographed. During the rehearsal of scenes involving an intimate event, there shall be discussion of the scene and what is supposed to happen in the scene so that all parties are aware of what events and types of touch or intimacy are to be expected.
- Actors will be permitted to use a placeholder (for example a high five) in place of kissing up until the kiss has been appropriately staged. Actors will never be directed to go “figure it out” with out guidance from the director. Third party assurances (“the director/another actor said it was okay”) are also unacceptable.
- Please note that improvisation or experimentation are often part of the rehearsal process, but it far better to stop an improvisation or experiment than to breach the trust of another actor. Should an actor state an area of the body is off-limits to touch, that boundary is to be respected during the staging process and in performance.
- Actors are also encouraged to “hold” a rehearsal (verbally employing that word works well) as a tool of self case when any moment of stress or discomfort arises in the rehearsal process.
- Anyone has the right to retract their consent at any time and call a “hold”. Ongoing affirmative consent can only be given by the actor or actors being touched sexually.
- Attendance in early rehearsals will be limited to director, actors, and stage management when intimate moments are being staged or rehearsed, should the actors request this.
- Third party assurances (“the director/another actor said it was okay”) are unacceptable.
- An individual’s sexual orientation, sexual history or personal trauma is private and does not need to be shared during rehearsals. If a performer chooses to share information in rehearsal it should remain confidential.
- Communication: If at any time anyone, whether performer or observer, experiences a boundary shift with the touch or intimacy involved in a scene, that party is encouraged to report it to the director, or, if that is problematic, to any board member.
- Corrective Action: If a party violates the touch disclosure agreement in a way that threatens the comfort and safety of others, Theatre Alliance maintains the right to take corrective action, including but not limited to removal of the violating party from the production.