UofW's dramatic arts program hosts public forum on sexual harassment in theatre industry

Following sexual harassment allegations against Canadian actor Albert Schultz, the university wanted to address questions and provide information to students who are entering the industry.

Director of the program says students are nervous about what they will face after school

Michelle MacArthur, a professor in the university's dramatic arts program, said the school provides intimacy training for students. (Tony Doucette/CBC)

The University of Windsor's School of Dramatic Arts hosted a public forum Friday on sexual harassment in the theatre industry.

Following sexual harassment allegations against Canadian actor Albert Schultz, the school wanted to address questions and provide information to students who are entering the industry.

"For some of our students we are hearing anxiety, fear about what this means for their careers in the theatre," said Michelle MacArthur, a professor in the university's dramatic arts program.

"There are some students who tell us that they expect this might happen, which to us is equally as disheartening," she added.

MacArthur said the school provides intimacy training to help students understand boundaries and information on where to turn if they have an experience they want to report. She says the training also allows the students to help shape the curriculum and the attitudes toward harassment issues.

"I think they learn to listen to their own instincts to understand when they feel comfortable and trust when they don't," she explained. "We know the best thing we can do now is empower our students to communicate clearly what their rights and responsibilities are."

MacArthur said she is concerned for her students as they enter the real world because she knows the realities of the theatre industry, but she is also hopeful toward a new generation of students.

"This is a generation that is really socially engaged and I want to think that they are going to be part of this change in the theatre industry."