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(Updated as of January 2018)

We are increasingly aware that disrespectful behavior, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and systemic bullying are deeply embedded in our culture – including in the theater world. These behaviors are contrary to who we are and what we aspire to be.

Theater is an art form. The work can and should be challenging, experimental, exploratory, and bold. Artistic freedom of expression is essential. For these things to happen, though, the creative space must be a safe space. And because the spaces in which we work are broad – encompassing administration, auditions, rehearsals, technical work, late nights, parties, public-facing frontline work, and more – we must acknowledge, and not exploit, the blurred boundaries between work and social spaces.

The Public Theater is committed to providing a healthy and respectful work environment for everyone involved in bringing its mission to life. We make this commitment to you as a member of our Public Theater family. And we expect you to support that commitment through your actions, too. To that end, we have created the following Code of Conduct to provide you with guidelines on appropriate behaviors and processes.

In order to ensure sustainable change, we appreciate that all of us must:

  • Know harassment and misconduct when we see it.
  • Know what to do when we experience or observe it.
  • Examine our industry practices (meeting formats, communication standards, etc.) where bullying or bias is slipping in, and establish improvement interventions.
  • Create a safe and supportive environment for people to share their concerns and
  • Communicate and maintain supportive and effective reporting processes.
  • Understand and uphold reporting standards and guidelines for employees, contractors, and guests.


THIS IS ABOUT ABUSE OF POWER: Harassment of any kind is about the ABUSE OF POWER. Making people feel vulnerable, ashamed, or marginalized is bullying.

SHIFTING THE PARADIGM: Shifting the paradigm requires us all to accept that some of our own behavior may still be rooted in old assumptions. Every one of us has a critical responsibility to hear and recognize the impact of our own actions. When we receive feedback that we have (even unintentionally) made someone uncomfortable, we commit to looking inward, becoming even more self-aware, and adjusting any offensive behavior immediately.

THIS WILL FEEL AWKWARD – FOR A WHILE: Because we are all learning new behaviors together, we will stumble. We will blurt. We may even wish we could stop talking about this. But keeping this front and center is the only path forward.

WE WILL WORK WITH EVERYONE TO MAKE IT BETTER: In addition to providing the guidelines that follow, we will work with anyone who seems to misunderstand our expectations. Cooperation and an open mind are expected.

WHAT DO DISRESPECTFUL CONDUCT AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT LOOK LIKE? Avoid any behavior that marginalizes or diminishes your colleagues. The list of potentially inappropriate behaviors below is not all-inclusive, but it is meant to provide you with examples.

INAPPROPRIATE PHYSICAL CONTACT: If in doubt, don’t do it. If someone pulls away or asks you to stop it – STOP IT. Hugging and touching can imply a sense of intimacy that is not shared.


  • Colleagues and co-workers are not girls, boys, gals, babes, sweeties, or honeys. Use people’s proper names.
  • Colleagues should not be subject to a judgmental gaze or commentary on clothing, bodies, sexiness, racial attributes, weight, prettiness, or personality characteristics.
  • Co-workers are here to do a job, and not to brighten your day. As such they do not need to hear “smile more,” “lighten up” or “calm down.”
  • Co-workers are here to work, not to discuss your or their personal lives or to engage in flirtatious behavior.


  • Interrupting or talking over others in discussions is dismissive and just plain rude. Co-workers are fully capable of making decisions related to their jobs. If we disagree with one another’s decisions, we are committed to discussing it with each other directly.
  • Making assumptions about gender, sexuality, race, or religion of colleagues is disrespectful.
  • Giving public credit for work well done is a respectful way to acknowledge contribution.
  • Taking unearned credit for work done by someone else diminishes a colleague’s stature in front of others.
  • Shaming or public outbursts are threatening and have absolutely no place at The Public Theater. Both parties will immediately, in the moment, stop action and step away before an appropriate reset.

This Code of Conduct is a living document and will be periodically updated.


Following (Mis)Conduct, a community town hall convening held on Monday, December 4, 2017, at The Public, we have collected resources for those interested in knowing more about ways to combat sexual misconduct and assault in our community.

National Sexual Assault Hotline - 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

Safe Horizon 24-Hr Helpline
 - 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)

Project Callisto 
Creating technology to combat sexual assault, empower survivors, and advance justice – an online sexual assault reporting system.

Not in Our House 
A Chicago-based movement founded to fight against sexual discrimination and harassment as well as gender-based violence in the theater community.

The Royal Court’s “Code of Behaviour” 
A comprehensive code of behavior created by the Royal Court Theatre, offering concrete steps and actions to prevent sexual harassment and abuses of power in the theater community.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. Operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.

CVTC (Crime Victims Treatment Center) is dedicated to helping survivors of interpersonal violence heal. They offer crisis intervention, individual and group trauma-focused therapy, legal advocacy, complementary therapy and psychiatric consultation. All services are confidential and completely free of charge.

The Sexual Harrassment Handbook by Linda Gordon Howard 
A guide by attorney Linda Gordon Howard on how to recognize and effectively deal with sexual harrassment in the workplace.

The Actors Fund 
Offers emergency financial assistance, affordable housing, health care and insurance counseling, senior care, secondary career development, and more for theater professionals

Human Resources for the Arts 
A coalition of New York-based artists and lawyers dedicated to educating and supporting arts workers around sexual harrassment issues.

The Empowering Internet Safety Guide for Women
A guide on internet safety written by women for women.

The Recovery Village: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Educational materials on how to identify the signs, types, and treatments for PTSD.