Citadel Theatre apologizes to artists, staff after allegations of workplace harassment

Edmonton's Citadel Theatre issued an apology Tuesday for any harassment artists and staff endured after several allegations were brought forward.

Artistic director Daryl Cloran committed to acknowledging past, creating safe and inclusive space in future

The Citadel Theatre issued an apology to staff and community members, acknowledging 'several allegations of harassment.' (Wil Wang/CBC)

Edmonton's Citadel Theatre issued an apology Tuesday for any harassment artists and staff endured after several allegations were brought forward.

In a letter posted to the theatre's website, artistic director Daryl Cloran apologized for the "negative workplace for artists and staff."

"We are truly sorry for any harassment that has been a part of the Citadel's past, and we give our word that anyone who engages in bullying or harassment will not be permitted to work at the Citadel," Cloran said in the letter.

Cloran said he was made aware of  "several allegations of harassment" when he first arrived at the theatre 18 months ago.

The board and management "moved quickly" to act on the allegations, he said. The code of conduct was reviewed and a "dialogue process" was brought in to allow artists to share their stories about the work environment.

In an interview with CBC News, Cloran said he was both surprised and disappointed when he heard the allegations and has since working to make the theatre an inclusive space.

"It's become a really big part of my job to really make people feel like everyone belongs at the Citadel," Cloran said Tuesday. "The Citadel won't stand for harassment of any kind."

Cloran said he only now made the letter public because he wanted to consult with the Edmonton community on how best to approach and reclaim the Citadel as a safe space.

In conversations with the arts community, Cloran said the theatre will try to "reclaim the Citadel space as a welcoming, positive place to create art."

In the letter, Daryl Cloran said the Citadel will try to reclaim the space as safe for everyone. (Citadel Theatre)

The Citadel has introduced a safe disclosure process for anyone who wants to bring a report of harassment forward with Wade King, a human rights and disclosure adviser, managing the process.

The Citadel will host a community event on May 14 "to acknowledge the past and to plan together for a safe and inclusive future" at the theatre.

"It is of primary importance to us that our building be a welcoming space and a place where artists feel safe to take risks," Cloran said in the letter. "The Citadel belongs to everyone."