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Saturday 18 November 2017

Irish theatre The Gate to appoint HR advisor to review staff complaints

Theatre
Theatre

 Kevin Doyle and Kirsty Blake Knox

The Gate Theatre is to appoint an independent and external HR adviser to deal with staff complaints and harassment issues.

Yesterday, the Gate Theatre board and management issued a statement in which they condemned “the issue of sexual harassment and abuse of power in the theatre world” both in Ireland and internationally.

The board has committed to dealing with current and former employees’ harassment issues in a confidential manner.

The board said it always aims to foster a safe working environment, and is encouraging people with any concerns to contact it via the email address The board said it always aims to foster a safe working environment, and is encouraging people with any concerns to contact it via the email address confidential@gate-theatre.ie.

“Any experience shared will be treated in the utmost confidence,” the statement read.

“We intend to appoint an independent professional HR adviser to handle any issues raised.”

The statement was issued following allegations of harassment and assault made against figures working in Irish theatre.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it was “right and appropriate” for people affected to come forward.

“That requires a degree of bravery of course but also it empowers other people to do the same,” he said.

“Maybe people who were afraid to do so in the past, when they see others coming forward well then they’ll be encouraged to do so as well.

“We do always though need to counterbalance that with understanding that an allegation is an allegation and people have the right to due process.”

Last week, several prominent arts organisations including the Abbey Theatre, The Gate, Druid, Dublin Theatre Festival, and Project Arts Centre issued a statement in which they emphasised their commitment in “supporting those who speak out, and to listen closely and carefully when they do”.

The statement was issued in light of “the recent developments and allegations in the entertainment industries in the US and UK”.

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