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(Updated as of January 2018)

We are increasingly aware that disrespectful behavior, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct,
and systemic bullying are deeply embedded in our culture – including in the theater world.
These behaviors are contrary to who we are and what we aspire to be.

Theater is an art form. The work can and should be challenging, experimental, exploratory, and bold.
Artistic freedom of expression is essential. For these things to happen, though, the creative space must
be a safe space. And because the spaces in which we work are broad – encompassing administration,
auditions, rehearsals, technical work, late nights, parties, public-facing frontline work, and more – we
must acknowledge, and not exploit, the blurred boundaries between work and social spaces.

The Public Theater is committed to providing a healthy and respectful work environment for
everyone involved in bringing its mission to life. We make this commitment to you as a member
of our Public Theater family. And we expect you to support that commitment through your
actions, too. To that end, we have created the following Code of Conduct to provide you with
guidelines on appropriate behaviors and processes.

In order to ensure sustainable change, we appreciate that all of us must:

  • Know harassment and misconduct when we see it.
  • Know what to do when we experience or observe it.
  • Examine our industry practices (meeting formats, communication standards, etc.) where
    bullying or bias is slipping in, and establish improvement interventions.
  • Create a safe and supportive environment for people to share their concerns and
  • Communicate and maintain supportive and effective reporting processes.
  • Understand and uphold reporting standards and guidelines for employees, contractors, and guests.


THIS IS ABOUT ABUSE OF POWER: Harassment of any kind is about the ABUSE OF POWER.
Making people feel vulnerable, ashamed, or marginalized is bullying.

SHIFTING THE PARADIGM: Shifting the paradigm requires us all to accept that some of our
own behavior may still be rooted in old assumptions. Every one of us has a critical
responsibility to hear and recognize the impact of our own actions. When we receive feedback
that we have (even unintentionally) made someone uncomfortable, we commit to looking
inward, becoming even more self-aware, and adjusting any offensive behavior immediately.

THIS WILL FEEL AWKWARD – FOR A WHILE: Because we are all learning new behaviors
together, we will stumble. We will blurt. We may even wish we could stop talking about this.
But keeping this front and center is the only path forward.

WE WILL WORK WITH EVERYONE TO MAKE IT BETTER: In addition to providing the guidelines
that follow, we will work with anyone who seems to misunderstand our expectations.
Cooperation and an open mind are expected.

Avoid any behavior that marginalizes or diminishes your colleagues. The list of potentially
inappropriate behaviors below is not all-inclusive, but it is meant to provide you with examples.

If in doubt, don’t do it. If someone pulls away or asks you to stop it – STOP IT. Hugging
and touching can imply a sense of intimacy that is not shared.


  • Colleagues and co-workers are not girls, boys, gals, babes, sweeties, or honeys. Use
    people’s proper names.
  • Colleagues should not be subject to a judgmental gaze or commentary on clothing,
    bodies, sexiness, racial attributes, weight, prettiness, or personality characteristics.
  • Co-workers are here to do a job, and not to brighten your day. As such they do not need
    to hear “smile more,” “lighten up” or “calm down.”
  • Co-workers are here to work, not to discuss your or their personal lives or to engage in

flirtatious behavior.


  • Interrupting or talking over others in discussions is dismissive and just plain rude.
    Co-workers are fully capable of making decisions related to their jobs. If we disagree with
    one another’s decisions, we are committed to discussing it with each other directly.
  • Making assumptions about gender, sexuality, race, or religion of colleagues is
  • Giving public credit for work well done is a respectful way to acknowledge contribution.
  • Taking unearned credit for work done by someone else diminishes a colleague’s stature
    in front of others.
  • Shaming or public outbursts are threatening and have absolutely no place at The Public
    Theater. Both parties will immediately, in the moment, stop action and step away before
    an appropriate reset.


This Code of Conduct is a living document and will be periodically updated.