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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.