Actors’ Equity Reaches Agreement With Scandal-Hit Michigan Theater Company Founded By Jeff Daniels

Actor’s Equity has reached a new agreement with the Michigan Regional Theater founded by the actor in 1991 Jeff Daniels Which recently saw the resignation of its longtime artistic director Guy Sanville following allegations of harassment and bullying.

Union says that with the agreement Purple Rose Theater Company Chelsea, Michigan, “demonstrates a commitment to creating a safe workplace that is free from the discrimination and harassment experienced by the company’s past leadership.”

“The new agreement covers wage and working hours as well as additional security provisions,” Equity said in a statement.

According to the Michigan Theater website repeat MichiganSanville, Purple Rose’s artistic director for 26 years, resigned from the theater’s board of directors last week, an announcement made public this week in a letter to the theater’s chairman of the board, Steve Hamp, to donors.

The letter to donors was posted by EncoreMichigan, and reads in part, “You may have seen or heard of allegations of impropriety, many of which are more than a decade old. These are similar to the types of stories that are being reported across the country.” Arts and cultural organizations across the world have come to the fore.

“The Board, in its governance role on behalf of our community, has been aware of most of the allegations for over a year and has taken steps to look into and address these situations. After learning about the specific allegations last fall, we took them all seriously. Our board ordered an internal review of our HR records to ensure that nothing has been missed over the years. We have no record of complaint by any employee against our management through union at any point of time.

In the past few years, allegations of bullying, discrimination and unsafe working conditions have been leveled against the company by former trainees and actors, many of whom are based out of Sanville and focused on the theater’s apprentice program. The EncoreMichigan report indicates that Equity has brought complaints on former or current trainees “on behalf of nine”, eight of whom were dismissed because of the elapsed time since the alleged incidents. The ninth case is still in arbitration, the website’s investigation indicates.

Purple Rose Theater is searching for a new Artistic Director nationwide.

Sanville told the website that he “cannot speak to my retirement at this time.” Deadline not reached Sanville.

According to Equity, the key provisions of its new deal with Purple Rose—which takes its name from the 1985 Woody Allen film purple rose of cairo in which Daniels starred – including pay increases for certain positions, a five-day work week and the abolition of “10 out of 12″ technical rehearsals, staged reading pay increases, discrimination and harassment, for reporting language of discrimination and harassment Includes eliminating time bars. More specifically bullying, prohibits all forms of discrimination and harassment and retaliation and more clearly defines reporting avenues.”

Other provisions: a requirement for annual anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all managers, and a comprehensive intimacy protocol developed in accordance with standards provided by Equity’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Strategist.

“This contract is now one of the strongest Equity contracts in the country in terms of protecting members from discrimination and harassment, and will be a model for other theaters,” Equity Assistant Executive Director and General Counsel Andrea Hoschen said in a statement. . “Actors and stage managers will have a safer workplace because of the courage and effort that they put in, which revealed many of the working conditions at Purple Rose that were incompatible with a safe, equitable, unionized workplace.”

Deadline has reached out to Purple Rose Theater Company for comment.

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