National Youth Theatre Statement – 15/11/2017
Last month, the Royal Court Theatre's #NoGreyArea put out an industry-wide challenge to call out unacceptable behaviour relating to abuses of power in the theatre industry and beyond. We would like to add our support to this movement and make a statement about the National Youth Theatre in the spirit of collaborative action, to ensure that our current and former members, staff and association feel that they can be open and honest with us about their time with the company as we move forward together.
In June 2013 we were informed of a claim against Michael Croft, a founding member of staff at the National Youth Theatre who is now deceased, of serious offences which are alleged to have taken place in the 1960s. We treat any allegations of this kind extremely seriously as the safeguarding of young people within our care is of the highest importance to us. In this case, we immediately informed the police in accordance with these procedures, which are developed in consultation with the NSPCC. In October 2016 we received a second claim against the same former member of staff, who died in 1986, of a further offence. We again informed the police immediately and consider the police to be the appropriate authorities to investigate these historical allegations, given their serious nature. In both instances we supported and encouraged the alleged victims to make their voices heard to the relevant authorities. We have received no other formal allegations during the current executive’s tenure.
We have had robust safeguarding procedures in place for over 20 years to protect the welfare of the young people in our care. These ensure that any alleged offences of this nature are dealt with quickly and appropriately, including the involvement of the relevant authorities. We strongly believe that all children and young people have the right to be treated fairly, justly and have the right to freedom from abuse and harm. You can read our policy on our website here.
We stand with our industry colleagues to reiterate the joint statement made on 23 October that there is no room for sexual harassment or abuse of power in the theatre. We will support you to speak out, and we will hear you when you do. Anyone with safeguarding concerns about their time with us can contact our lead safeguarding trustee Dr Simon Stockill directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact trained NSPCC counsellors 24/7 on 0808 800 5000 or email@example.com
To continue to make sure that our community feel that they can be open and honest with us about their time in the company and in line with our duty of candour we plan to host a series of ‘Town Hall Meetings’ in the coming months, to provide secure spaces to continue this conversation. We are committed to protecting the well-being of young people and their engagement in our industry.