Artists’ Bill of Rights
It is understood that creative atmospheres are not “emotionally sanitary” – they can safely be bawdy, profane, vulgar, and challenging. Having (a) an environment of building consent and (b) an environment that allows for response to clear boundary violations can broaden our opportunity to be challenging and fearless in our work.
Artists performing and producing on Austin stages have the right to pursue their trade in an atmosphere free from physical and emotional harm.
- Artists have the right to rehearse and perform in a safe, reasonable space.
- Artists have the right to access bathroom facilities
- Artists have the right to access clean drinking water if they will be working in temperatures over 80 degrees.
- Artists have the right to be provided with the tools to carry out their duties safely.
- Safety equipment, including safety glasses/goggles, earmuffs or safety belts should be available during builds. Spotters are available for high work.
- Costumes, sets and properties should allow performers to do their work without risk of injury.
- Lighting, both onstage and backstage, should allow performers and crew members to safely navigate the space, including during blackouts.
- Artists have the right to safe fight choreography.
- Performers have a right to refuse to perform choreography that is outside their physical ability or is unsafe.
- Performers have a right to request a certified fight choreographer, if it is clear that one is required to ensure the safety of the participants.
- Performers have the right to enough rehearsal time to ensure staged violence can be safely performed.
- Performers have the right to appropriate footwear, costuming, surfaces, personal protective padding and lighting to ensure that the choreography can be executed safely.
- Performers have the right to use the actual weapons, props, costumes, headgear, masks, make-up (prosthetics), footwear and stunt equipment used in the fight or stunt during the rehearsal process, to allow for adequate rehearsal time and for any necessary modification.
- Performers have the right to insist on safe weapons handling procedures. (See our Recommendations for Staged Violence)
- Artists have the right to consensual sexual choreography.
- Artists have the right to expect that staged intimacy will be choreographed with the consent of all participants.
- Artists have the right to expect that staged intimacy will not be changed without the consent of all participants.
- Artists have the right not to be exploited on the basis of their race, gender, gender identity, religion, ethnicity, or disability without their active, ongoing consent.
- Artists have the right to work in an atmosphere free from harassment based on gender, gender identity, sexual preferences, racial or ethnic background, color, place of birth, citizenship, ancestry, creed or ability.
- Artists have the right to have their clearly stated physical and emotional boundaries respected.
We understand that the Council likely won’t recognize artists’ rights being compromised from our seats in the audience. Artists who have unsuccessfully addressed these issues, or who are afraid or unable to address them themselves, are encouraged to reach out to the Council for help.
The process is as follows.
- Report the issue via the online submission form on our website, or speak to a Council Member.
- Three impartial B. Iden Payne Council Members will form a small group to complete an assessment using Human Resources best practices. This includes:
- Interviewing all directly involved parties
- Interviewing indirectly involved parties (ie, other participants in the production)
- Other steps as the individual case requires.
- There is no time limit for this assessment, and the assessment will remain confidential amongst the members of the Tribunal until their findings are finalized.
- If the violations can be isolated to an individual, that individual and everyone on up the chain of command in that organization will be ineligible for B. Iden Payne Awards for that production, and the production itself becomes ineligible for that category. For example, if a lighting designer refuses to alter design to allow for safe fight choreography, the Lighting Designer, Director, and Production are ineligible for that production. All other elements remain nominable.
- Confirmed violations will be shared with the community via the B. Iden Payne Awards Council Newsletter.
 Excerpted from the Code of Conduct, developed by Not in Our House, Chicago, Illinois.