Mission & Values

The mission of The Village Theatre (“VT”) is to advance the art of improvisation and cultivate the next generation of funny, talented and creative artistic professionals. In doing so, we believe we have a responsibility to institute a safe creative establishment which promotes a high level of artistic achievement.

Equal Treatment

At VT, we firmly believe in equal treatment and respect for everyone. That’s why we are  committed to equal opportunity for all employees, applicants, performers, instructors and  students. We never let our employment, training and performance selection decisions be  influenced by such things such as race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity or  expression, sexual orientation, transgender status, national origin, age, disability, veteran’s  status, or any other basis prohibited by law.

We’re confident you’ll help keep VT a positive, professional place to work and learn by:

  • Always acting fairly and considerately towards others
  • Contributing to the self-confidence and self-esteem of others
  • Maintaining positive relationships with employees, students and performers

Behavior that contributes to or constitutes unlawful discrimination or harassment will be dealt with firmly—up to and including employment termination and/or termination of your affiliation with VT.

Standards of Conduct

Improvisation is a creative pursuit that encourages and requires performers to explore the  fullness of life experience, including topics which might have the tendency to make some  uncomfortable or might not be appropriate during polite conversation. Occasionally,  performers may give voice to viewpoints that society finds undesirable, impolite or offensive.  And while some of the topics and viewpoints explored during improvisation might be  unacceptable to some, others might find them harmless. VT seeks to provide performers  and students the artistic freedom to explore any such topics and viewpoints without  reservation even if such a performance may cause discomfort for other performers, students  or audience members. Any person who enrolls in an improvisation class at VT or performs  on one of its stages should approach that experience with an open mind, knowing that good  improvisation benefits from a broad spectrum of perspectives and experiences.

However, VT insists that performers and students approach improvisation with respect for  their fellow performers and students, both on-stage and off, avoiding harassing or abusive  conduct targeted toward an individual performer or student. While VT will generally not  interfere with artistic choices made on-stage or during a classroom exercise, any performer  or student who feels that such behavior has become harassing or abusive may excuse  themselves from the performance or exercise and should report the conduct to any of the  following: 

Blair Holden, Michael King, Kris Johnson, and Marc Mooney.

In the case of such a report, VT will investigate the matter and address the issue as  appropriate and consistent with our Anti-Harassment policy below. VT will permit no  retaliation against a performer or student who makes such a report in good faith and/or  participates in an investigation under this policy.

Anti-Harassment Policy

Harassment of any kind is most damaging to the person being harassed. But harassment  also damages positive working relationships. It offends our sense of dignity. It destroys  trust. And it will ultimately harm our core mission and values. Our goal is to provide a  workplace and learning environment where each member of our improv community feels  respected, valued and comfortable. To preserve this atmosphere, VT will not tolerate  harassment or other abusive behavior by anyone –including employees, students,  performers, instructors, visitors, vendors and audience members. Harassment is prohibited  in all forms including, but not limited to, text message, email , spoken word or through social  media.

Harassment:

In adherence to this policy, VT prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race,  color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, transgender  status, marital status, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, military or veteran’s  status, genetic information, or any other basis protected by Federal, State, or local law or  ordinance. 

Under this policy, harassment means conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion  toward an individual because of the individual’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation,  gender, gender identity or expression, transgender status, marital status, national origin,  age, physical or mental disability, or any other characteristic protected by law. Harassment  includes conduct, whether verbal, physical or visual, that unreasonably interferes with an  individual’s participation in VT programs, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive  educational or working environment.

Examples of prohibited harassment include, but are not limited to: epithets, slurs or negative  stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts or denigrating jokes directed at an  individual based on his or her personal characteristics.  

All employees, instructors, performers and students have a responsibility to keep VT free of  any such harassment. Conduct prohibited by this policy is unacceptable in the Theater and in any VT-related  setting outside the Theater, such as business meetings, educational events and  performances, VT-related social events and other settings. 

Sexual Harassment:

VT’s policy also specifically prohibits sexual harassment. “Sexual harassment” includes a  broad spectrum of conduct. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome  sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually-motivated physical contact or other  verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature where: Submission to that  conduct or communication is made a term or condition of employment or status as a  performer at VT, either explicitly or implicitly; or Submission to or rejection of that conduct or  communication by an individual is used as a factor in decisions affecting that individual’s  employment or status as a performer at VT; or Such conduct or communication  unreasonably interferes with an individual’s job or theatrical performance, or creates an  intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Sexual harassment also includes sexual  assault.  

No one involved with VT –whether a member of management, another employee, an  instructor, or performer –may request or require an employee, applicant, instructor,  performer or student to submit to sexual harassment as a condition of receiving any benefit  (such as a raise, promotion or selection for an VT performance) or avoiding any detriment  (such as a pay cut, demotion or non-selection for an VT performance).

Please note that due to the unique nature of the improv theater/comedy setting, a person’s  subjective belief that behavior is offensive, intimidating or hostile does not necessarily render  that behavior harassment under this policy. Rather, the behavior must be objectively  unreasonable in light of the surrounding circumstances and context.

Sexual harassment is prohibited whether it involves individuals of the same or the opposite sex. 

Courteous, mutually respectful, pleasant, noncoercive interactions between employees that  are appropriate in the workplace and acceptable to and welcomed by both parties are not  considered to be harassment, including sexual harassment.

Names / Pronouns:

All applicants, performers, instructors and students have the right to be addressed by the  name and pronoun that correspond to that individual’s gender identity, upon request. A  court-ordered name or gender change is not required. The intentional or persistent refusal to  respect an individual’s gender identity (for example, intentionally referring to a performer by  a name or pronoun that does not correspond to the performer’s gender identity) can  constitute harassment and is a violation of this policy. If you are unsure what pronoun a  transitioning individual might prefer, you can politely ask the person how they would like to  be addressed.

Reporting Inappropriate Conduct

VT encourages reporting of all perceived incidents of discrimination, harassment or  retaliation, regardless of the offender’s identity or position. 

If you become aware of discrimination or harassment in violation of the policies stated  above, you must immediately report the matter to your manager, your supervisor, your  teacher, your coach, the Artistic Director(s), House Manager, or to any of the following: 

Blair Holden, Michael King, Kris Johnson, and Marc Mooney.

If you report the matter to your manager, your supervisor, your teacher, your coach, the  Artistic Director(s), or the House Manager and you are not satisfied with their response, you  may report your concern to Blair Holden, Michael King, Kris Johnson, or Marc Mooney.

Alternatively, if you are comfortable doing so, you may promptly advise the offender that his  or her behavior is unwelcome and to request that it be discontinued. Often this action alone  will resolve the problem. VT recognizes, however, that an individual may prefer to pursue  the matter through complaint procedure set forth above.

VT will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of all complaints of harassment or  discrimination. The scope of the investigation will depend upon the specific circumstances,  but may include interviews with the person making the complaint, the person against whom  the complaint is made, any potential witnesses identified by either person, and any others  whom the VT believes may have relevant information. The person making the complaint  normally will be requested to put his or her complaint in writing. You are expected to  cooperate in this process if asked to do so, and to provide truthful information. Any person  who knowingly provides false information in connection with an investigation under this  policy will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment or affiliation  with VT. 

VT will make every effort to respect the privacy of those involved in an investigation under  this procedure. However, please understand that we may need to disclose certain  information to complete our investigation or otherwise address the matters raised in the  complaint. A request not to investigate a reported violation of this policy cannot be honored.  The results of the investigation will be discussed with those individuals involved and VT will  determine whether any action is warranted in response. Individuals who are found to have  violated this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action up to and including  termination of employment or affiliation with VT. 

No Retaliation

VT will not retaliate against any person for making a good faith complaint under this policy,  regardless of the outcome of the investigation. Similarly, VT will not retaliate against any  person for providing truthful information in connection with an investigation under this policy.  Any employee, instructor or performer at VT who retaliates against another for utilizing in  good faith the procedures in this policy will be subject to discipline, up to and including  termination, or termination of their affiliation with VT, as the circumstances warrant.

Relationships Between Instructors and Students

Those who teach for the VT Training Center or who are members of the Education Committee entrusted with guiding students, evaluating their talents and recommending students to the Theater for performances and work engagements occurring within our community. Students depend on the integrity of their relationships with those instructors and understandably expect instructors to exercise their authority fairly. The instructor-student relationship must not be jeopardized by possible doubt of intent or fairness of professional judgment, conflicts of interest, harassment, or the appearance to others of favoritism or advantage. In light of the potential for misunderstanding, morale problems, or abuse arising from consensual romantic or sexual relationships, VT strictly prohibits its instructors and Coaches from entering and/or engaging in romantic and/or sexual relationships with a student while the student is enrolled at VT.

Moreover, relationships between an instructor and student existing prior to the student’s  enrollment at the VT Training Center should be reported to the Managing Director; the  student will not be permitted to enroll in a class taught by the instructor with whom he or she  is romantically involved. 

In addition to the above, VT strictly prohibits Coaches from entering and/or engaging in romantic and/or sexual relationships with a performer of a team they currently coach. Moreover, members of the Education Committee must recuse themselves when voting on persons auditioning that involve individuals with whom they maintained or currently maintain a romantic and/or sexual relationship.

Open Door Policy

VT is committed to providing a safe, productive and fun educational environment for all  employees, performers, instructors and students. Part of this commitment is encouraging an  open and frank atmosphere in which any problem, concern or question can be addressed  and discussed. At VT, we value the suggestions of employees, performers, instructors and  students and want you to share your ideas with us. Through mutual cooperation and  constant communication, we can identify and develop best practices in performing our jobs  and addressing the needs of our students. We also want to have the opportunity to correct  any misunderstandings or complaints that you may have. Your first step in resolving  workplace issues should normally be to discuss the matter with your direct supervisor, coach  or instructor, as the case may be. If the issue is not satisfactorily resolved, or you are not  comfortable discussing the issue with this individual, you may bring the issue directly to the  attention of to any of the following:  

Blair Holden, Michael King, Kris Johnson, and Marc Mooney.  

There will be no retaliation for raising a concern under this policy. Any issues raised or  discussions held pursuant to this policy will be treated with the utmost confidentiality without  compromising any investigation VT may need to conduct.

Whistleblower Policy

VT is committed to high standards of ethical, moral and legal business conduct. In line with  this commitment, and VT’s commitment to open communication, this policy aims to provide  an avenue for employees, performers, instructors and students to raise concerns and  reassurance that they will be protected from reprisals or victimization for whistleblowing. This  whistleblowing policy is intended to cover protections for you if you raise concerns regarding  VT, such as concerns regarding: incorrect financial reporting; unlawful activity; unethical or  illegal conduct; activities that are not in line with VT policy; and any other activities otherwise  amounting to seriously improper conduct. 

General Principles

This policy encourages employees, performers and students to put their names to  allegations because appropriate follow-up questions and investigation may not be possible  unless the source of the information is identified. Concerns expressed anonymously will be  explored appropriately, but consideration will be given to: the seriousness of the issue  raised; the credibility of the concern; and the likelihood of confirming the allegation from attributable sources. Harassment or retaliation for reporting concerns under this policy will  not be tolerated.  

Please note that employees, performers, instructors and students who wish to report an  incident of harassment or sexual assault must follow the complaint procedures set forth in  VT’s Anti-Harassment policy.  

Process for Raising a Concern

The whistleblowing procedure is intended to be used for serious and sensitive issues. Such concerns, including those relating to financial reporting, unethical or illegal conduct, may be reported directly to any of the following:

Blair Holden, Michael King, Kris Johnson, and Marc Mooney.  

Although the individual is not expected to prove the truth of an allegation, he or she should  be able to demonstrate to the person contacted that the report is being made in good faith.  VT will not retaliate against any person for making a good faith complaint under this policy,  regardless of the outcome of the investigation.  

How the Report of Concern Will be Handled

Upon receipt of a report of inappropriate conduct under this policy, VT will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation and appropriate corrective action will be taken, if/as warranted. The action taken by VT in response to a report of concern under this policy will depend on the nature of the concern. Initial inquiries will be made to determine whether an investigation is appropriate, and the form that it should take. Some concerns may be resolved without the need for investigation.The amount of contact between the complainant and the person or persons investigating the concern will depend on the nature of the issue and the clarity of information provided. Further information may be sought from or provided to the person reporting the concern.

Right to be Free from Retaliation

VT will not retaliate against any employee, instructor, performer or student as a result of his  or her report of inappropriate conduct under this policy, or because he or she has refused to  follow an illegal, inappropriate and/or unethical request.  

Names / Pronouns

An employee has the right to be addressed by the name and pronoun that correspond to the  employee’s gender identity, upon request. A court-ordered name or gender change is not  required. The intentional or persistent refusal to respect an employee’s gender identity (for  example, intentionally referring to the employee by a name or pronoun that does not  correspond to the employee’s gender identity) can constitute harassment and is a violation  of this policy. If you are unsure what pronoun a transitioning coworker might prefer, you can  politely ask your coworker how they would like to be addressed.