The initiative will provide employees of the London theatre with support staff who can be consulted about any concerns
London’s The Old Vic theatre has introduced a new “guardians programme” following the number of allegations of inappropriate conduct that were made late last year against Kevin Spacey while the actor worked at the theatre.
Back in November, Spacey – who has been the subject of multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, assault and harassment claims – was reportedly investigated by police in London after a second sexual assault allegation was made against him. Spacey, who served as artistic director at The Old Vic between 2004 and 2015, issued a statement following the claims, saying that he was “taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment”.
The Old Vic has now publicly introduced its new “guardians programme”, which will offer an alternative to traditional methods of line management and HR for its employees.
The initiative will see between four and six Old Vic employees receive training to give support and advice, with those selected then able to act in full confidentiality – especially in circumstances where a criminal offence is not suspected to have been committed.
Speaking about the programme, the Old Vic’s artistic director Kate Varah said that the theatre wants “to reassure people they have a voice”.
“We want everyone to have a way to share their concerns with someone outside of the regular reporting line,” Varah said. “Our guardians will actively listen and support, offering confidential advice on options, with discretion and empathy.
“A heartening outcome for us would be other theatres, and sectors, taking the concept of guardians within their business, and making it their own.”
The Old Vic, which confirmed back in November that it had received 20 personal testimonies of alleged inappropriate behaviour by Spacey while in his role at the theatre, has said it will establish a “zero-tolerance” policy towards sexual harassment.