ART, FEAR AND TOXIC CULTURE FROM THE HIDDEN WORLD OF DRAMA SCHOOL.
Steeped in history and famed for their pedigrees, UK drama schools are widely regarded as the institutions that nurture, elevate, and inspire the artists of the future. In 2021, harrowing stories from students past and present began to surface.
They formed a pattern that troubled both arts educators and the public, and left journalists scrambling to break the story as allegations ranging from bullying to naked auditions to serious sexual misconduct swirled on social media.
This documentary plays out before the backdrop of dangerous culture and institutional failures, but the real story is a study of how much we would truly suffer for our art– and the courage it takes to speak out.
IN THE MEDIA
– The Telegraph
– The Telegraph
An Experience Shared by Many.
The Stage carried out a survey to determine the scale to which harassment and bullying has affected, and continues to affect, theatre and performing arts professionals and to investigate whether there were any parts of the industry particularly hard hit. It was distributed to a database of registered users of The Stage in November 2017 and was carried out over a 10-day period by 1,755 people with 1,050 completing all key questions.
“Being naked was normalized”
Young artists followed their dreams to famous institutions only to suffer emotional and sometimes physical abuse under their care. For years, half measures, denigration of claims and antiquated logic have persisted. Instead of leading to meaningful change, stories told by survivors were dismissed as cases of he-said-she-said or mere hearsay.
Now, with the world awake to survivor justice and social change, those stories are getting the attention they deserve. This project aims to shine a light on a disturbing past, ensuring young artists have an education fit for today’s more enlightened world.
An ArtsEd graduate and former actor, Katie found that the stories emerging on this subject struck a familiar and troubling chord. As the owner of a New York-based film production company, she was also in a position to give the victims a platform. Katie has spent months interviewing graduates from an array of drama schools across the UK, developing relationships with key journalists as she goes. An insider with a documentarian's eye, she knows all too well the environments described at drama school: no one is better able to shepherd this story onto the screen.
Connect with our story
Turning a lens toward the wrongs of the past helps create a better future. If you are an educator, working actor, or current or former student of an arts education institution with a story of your time at school, we would love to hear from you.