Author Topic: POLICIES: Proactive Drug Policy questions  (Read 2437 times)

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POLICIES: Proactive Drug Policy questions
« on: Nov 18, 2009, 12:59 pm »

Community theatre, cast drawn from the borderline professionals in the area for a fairly risqué production (a lot of simulated drug use on stage).

Rumor (and only rumor) is that members of the cast have, in the past, used and/or sold drugs during productions, in the theater.  I may be coming into this as the production SM, somewhere around 3 weeks prior to opening for a 6 week run.  All the actors do sign a contract stating a fairly standard no illicit substances, which has been inconsistently enforced at this venue in the past.

My inclination is (coming in part way through the process) - talking to the director so he is clear the policy is not at the theatre, and sober when they get there.  Trying to find a way to give the same to the cast without being too obvious.  Giving it in the pre-tech speech (which I always do so everyone knows what the plan is) makes some sense, but is that too late (I will have been there for at least a week by that point).  

Given it is community theater, and there are no understudies, and this may be a thing that has happened and been acceptable in the past, any suggestions if the director/producers seem unwilling to enforce (to include dismissing actors?).  Walking away is an option, but not the most constructive one.

Edit added label to subject line-Rebbe
« Last Edit: Dec 17, 2009, 12:22 am by Rebbe »


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Re: Proactive Drug Policy questions
« Reply #1 on: Nov 18, 2009, 04:44 pm »
Wow. Some thoughts:

It could come down to a safety issue. If people are impaired at any point, you have to keep everyone (other actors, tech crew, audience) safe. Is there flame being used? That's another major safety issue.

You should check their "props" before rehearsal or a production.

If you haven't started yet, include in your introductory speech info about your job is to keep everyone safe, reiterate company policy (that you also signed). You may need to talk with the director and/or the company's Board about flexibility in dealing with legal and/or safety issues.

If the Board/producer/director/people in charge don't want to deal with it, you may need to go into what-if mode? Where are the fire extinguishers? What happens if someone is unable to perform? Do you let them go on impaired? How will it reflect on you once the show opens and people are impaired?

Good luck. It sounds like a sticky, delicate situation.


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Re: Proactive Drug Policy questions
« Reply #2 on: Nov 18, 2009, 04:59 pm »
If drug use/trafficking is something that is only a rumor, I'd be inclined to simply mention it in passing rather than go loaded for bear. Why not wrap it up into your "first day" speech? After introducing yourself and letting your cast know how to contact you in an emergency, just do a casual 5 minute review of policies: tardiness, appropriate footwear in rehearsals, the drug & alcohol policy, etc...  

I would also talk with the producer/director or community theater officers prior to your arrival in order receive clear instructions on how they wish you to proceed if there is a policy violation. Be very frank about the rumors you've heard and the concerns you have. If you are at all dissatisfied with the organization's response, don't be afraid to walk away. Better to avoid the mud rather than be mired in it!