Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre releases initial report about harassment, bullying concerns

A file photo of Edmonton's Citadel Theatre. Global News

A year after the board and management at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre “determined that some former and current staff and artists held negative sentiments about their past experiences with the organization,” the venue has released its initial report looking into concerns surrounding bullying and harassment at the facility.

The report details some of the responses the theatre heard when it held a “facilitated event aimed at reclaiming the Citadel as a safe workplace” in May.

“My experience at the Citadel was characterized by fear, intimidation and isolation,” one person was recorded as saying.

“There was nobody to talk to, or when you spoke up, no one listened or you were punished,” reads another response.

In March, the theatre posted a letter apologizing for what it termed a history of workplace harassment. In it, artistic director Daryl Cloran said he heard from many artists with negative experiences and promised disrespectful behaviour would no longer be tolerated.

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“I have spoken with many artists, and it has become clear to me that through its history, there have been times that the Citadel has been a negative workplace for artists and staff,” Cloran wrote.

“That is unacceptable.”

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READ MORE: Citadel Theatre apologizes for past bullying and harassment

The theatre announced it would be bringing in human rights advisor Wade King to help facilitate the confidential sharing of negative experiences.

The report released on Wednesday outlines some of the actions already taken by the theatre to address the issues. Among the actions listed are the facilitation of “all hands and team” meetings to discuss the workplace environment and expectations around conduct and reporting.

Other actions include piloting a “360-degree” evaluation process to allow staff to give feedback and anonymously signal to the board if there are any issues with management, as well as planning harassment prevention training.

Watch below: Some videos from Global News stories on harassment.

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The communique also highlighted steps being taken that are still in progress. Among them are the “inclusion of culture work in executive goal-setting,” events to follow-up on discussions as part of the “artist exchange program” — talking about what has been learned so far and where further work is needed — and regular reporting by the executive to the board on “safe workplace activities,” as well as any new concerns.

“We continue to welcome feedback and dialogue with the community that we serve,” the report reads.

“We are humbled and grateful for the generous spirit that exists towards the Citadel’s work in this regard.”

In a joint statement, Cloran and the chair of the organization’s board of directors, Wendy Dupree, said they were making the report available to the public “as part of our commitment to understanding the issues brought forward and to begin its process of insuring there will be no tolerance towards harassment and bullying and start a path to healing and action.”

“We know that this is ongoing work,” their statement reads. “The needs and expectations of our community are continuously evolving and we must remain ever-vigilant in ensuring that the Citadel is a positive and safe place to create amazing works of theatre.

“The very real challenges we are working through should in no way detract from the pride of our committed and talented team of artists who continue in their dedication to creating beautiful performances.”


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