Minister Madigan Opens Irish Theatre Institute Gathering to eliminate “abuse of power”
Josepha Madigan T.D Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, will today open the “Speak up and call it out” conference, a gathering of Theatre Sector professionals aimed at agreeing a code of conduct to eliminate the abuse of power in the work place.
Last November the then Minister for Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht met with leaders of Irish theatre organisations who had co-signed a statement condemning sexual harassment and abuse of power in theatre in Ireland and internationally. That meeting focused on how the theatre sector could best move forward on the issues that had arisen in Irish theatre. Speak Up and Call It Out was born out of these discussions.
In her address Minister Madigan said “Today is about the elimination of abuse of power and the safeguarding of health and wellbeing and the career potential – of those working in the sector. I have stated that I wanted today to be seen as an initiative of the theatre sector, for the theatre sector, that is led by the theatre sector. Hopefully by the end of today you will have agreed a code of conduct that all can abide by”
“But as we look forward with hope, it would be remiss of us not to reflect back on the hurt and wrongdoings of the past. Much of it never publicly voiced. This process will not ignore the hurt and damage that has been done to so many people across the sector, women and men, across too many years and in many locations and we must honestly acknowledge that failures occurred. Power imbalances impact people’s lives, personally and professionally, individually and collectively. It is our shared responsibility to enable and ensure equality of standing for all members of our community. Theatre is a collaborative art form where people with diverse skills, backgrounds, ages and genders work together to make art that reflects the world around us and the society within which we live. It is this spirit of collaboration and co-operation that, when harnessed, can drive change. Let us say today that we will no longer ignore our problems”. Minister Madigan concluded