Gloucester Stage seeks to protect actors in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against Israel Horovitz
In the wake of multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault against cofounder Israel Horovitz, the Gloucester Stage Company has adopted procedures to prevent and respond to “unsafe events, environments or individuals” at the theater.
Gloucester Stage Company’s board of directors has voted to adopt the Chicago Theater Standards, which outline the process for filing a complaint of harassment or assault and how such incidents will be handled.
Bob Walsh, GSC artistic director, said the integration of the policies — in the rehearsal process, daily operations, and orientation for staff — has begun. “We are already putting in place safeguards to support the artists,” Walsh said in a statement.
The changes comes after nine women accused Horovitz of sexual misconduct, including rape, over a period from the 1980s to last year. The allegations led the theater company to sever ties with Horovitz, who cofounded the GSC in 1979 and served as its artistic director until 2006.
Elizabeth Neumeier, president of the GSC board, said the new procedures are designed to protect actors, directors, staff, and anyone else who works at the company, which begins casting its 39th season this week.
“We have been individually and collectively appalled by the allegations of past misconduct at Gloucester Stage and throughout the theater industry,” she said. “We intend for Gloucester Stage, by our actions and example, to help change the culture that, for so long, has allowed such things to take place. Implementing the Chicago Theater Standards this season will help ensure that Gloucester Stage is a place where people feel safe, free to do their best work, and to speak out without fear of reprisal.”
Jeff Zinn, the GSC managing director, said something had to be done to ensure everyone’s safety. “Collectively, there is momentum to adopt a common standard. We look forward to measuring our efforts and sharing our progress with our colleagues and sister companies.”