DEREHAM THEATRE COMPANY
Dereham Theatre Company is committed to staging quality amateur theatrical productions for the people of Dereham and the surrounding villages, towns and county of Norfolk, and offering opportunities to performers and all associated personnel to take part in these productions. Whilst the Management Committee does its level best to ensure a fair and productive atmosphere, we know this isn’t always possible. With guidance from NODA, the expectations of Dereham Theatre Company has for its members is outlined in the ‘Guidelines for Performers’, which is supported by this document, outlining what we deem unacceptable behaviour, the steps to take to report it and the procedure that follows.
This is conduct which is sufficiently serious that it requires disciplinary action. In order to warrant dismissal, misconduct must be extremely serious, or repeated on more than one occasion. Misconduct can include (although not exclusively) the following:
· Persistent lateness at rehearsals
· Absence from rehearsals when the production team haven’t been notified in advance and/or avoidable absence from rehearsals
· Failure to meet known work standards
· Failure to make payment of show fees or script charges either without making arrangements with the Treasurer and/or failure to make payment as part of a payment plan arranged with the Treasurer.
· Frequent use of abusive/explicit language at rehearsals and during performances, to the point of causing offence to other Company members
· Misuse of props, furniture and set
· Failure to follow guidelines as set out by show managers
This is the term for serious misconduct which may lead to instant dismissal (that is, summary dismissal). Acts that constitute gross misconduct are those resulting in a serious breach of the society rules and will be for the society to decide in light of their own particular circumstances. Gross Misconduct can include (although not exclusively) the following:
· Where children are at risk
· Theft, fraud or deliberate falsification of records
· Physical violence
· Serious bullying or harassment
· Sexual harassment and or assault
· Serious insubordination
· Serious incapability brought about by alcohol or drugs
· Endangering others through deliberate breach of Health and Safety procedures
· Conduct which the Committee deems to endanger the welfare and reputation of the Company.
The Appeals Committee will consist of any three of the following:
1. Chair/Vice Chair (Adjudicator)
2. Secretary/Deputy (Note taker)
3. Another Committee member
It is the Appeals Committee’s responsibility to address all complaints and appeals it receives, by investigating thoroughly and taking appropriate action. Once a decision is made by the Appeals Committee, be it for an informal or formal resolution, that decision is final.
REPORTING AN INCIDENT(S):
The First Step:
Wherever possible, the Appeals Committee will try to resolve minor issues informally and amicably. If you are unhappy with an individual or a group of people within the Company, or Company procedures, etc., the first course of action is to speak to or e-mail the Appeals Committee, who will discuss the matter and take appropriate action to resolve the issue(s) as swiftly as possible.
The Next Step:
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of this informal action and/or the grievance is still ongoing or if you deem the incident(s) more serious, to take the grievance to the next stage, you must fill out an official Complaint Form (available from the Secretary) and e-mail it to all members of the Appeals Committee. They will discuss the matter and contact the complainant within seven (7) days
Once the Complainant has been consulted, the Perpetrator(s) will receive a full report of the alleged offence(s) (in the case of Written Warnings) and a right of reply. The Perpetrator(s) will have fourteen (14) days to lodge an appeal against the alleged offence(s) to the Appeals Committee.
TYPES OF WARNING:
The Appeals Committee will attempt, wherever possible, to resolve grievances mutually and informally. However, where that is not possible, it may decide to issue the following formal warnings:
First Oral Warning:
In the case of a minor infringement the person may be given a formal oral warning. They will be told of the reasons for the warning, that it is the first step in the disciplinary process and they have the right of appeal.
First Written Warning:
If the infringement is regarded as more serious, the person may be given a formal written warning, giving the details of the complaint, the improvement required and the right of appeal. If upheld, this complaint will be kept on record for a period of six months and disregarded after that time if we receive no further complaints. A final written warning may be considered if the desired change doesn’t occur.
Final Written Warning:
Where there is failure to improve the conduct, or an infringement which is considered sufficiently serious, the person may be given a final written warning and/or suspension. This will include full details of the offence and that failure to improve may result in dismissal and the right of appeal.
DISMISSAL AND SUSPENSION:
If the behaviour remains unchanged then sanctions imposed may include suspension or dismissal. This decision will be taken by the Appeals Committee. The person(s) will be informed as is reasonably practicable and will have fourteen (14) days to lodge an appeal. In the case of suspension, the Appeals Committee will aim to resolve grievances as soon as practically possible.
In cases of alleged Gross Misconduct, the member(s) will be immediately suspended. If the complaint is upheld, the member(s) will face permanent dismissal.
In cases of repeated Misconduct, the Appeals Committee may judge it appropriate to suspend the member(s) from participation in the Company for a maximum of two (2) years.
An alleged perpetrator(s) will have the right to lodge an appeal within fourteen (14) days of receiving a verbal or written warning or notification of suspension/dismissal. The Appeals Committee will arrange a hearing at the earliest available opportunity and the alleged perpetrator(s) has the right to argue their case, accompanied (if they so wish) by a witness. The individual(s) will be informed of decisions made as soon as possible with confirmation in writing
The Appeals Committee will record all warnings issued and all meetings resulting from complaints by and against Company members.
COMPLAINTS AGAINST MEMBERS OF THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE:
As with every other member of the Company, the Management Committee are subject to these guidelines and procedures. If a complaint is raised against a Management Committee member, that complaint will be dealt with fairly and unbiasedly, and the member in question will not be permitted to sit on the Appeals Committee
FALSE AND ERRONEOUS COMPLAINTS:
The Appeals Committee will take any and all complaints very seriously. If a member is found to have entered a false or erroneous complaint, the Appeals Committee may choose to take appropriate disciplinary action against the complainant.
Absence from Rehearsals/Performances:
It is very important that when entering an audition form, performers inform the production team of any and all exceptional dates where rehearsals cannot be attended. If more than three are entered, it is at the discretion of the Management Committee and casting panel if that person is cast in a production. The Director will take full responsibility for such decisions. When a production is in rehearsal, whilst there are exceptions (illness, exceptional events, etc.), unless otherwise noted, if four rehearsals are missed without reasonable notice and/or explanation, performers will receive an automatic written warning. If a subsequent rehearsal is missed, a final written warning will be issued. Further absence will be dealt with directly by the Appeals Committee, as per the Guidelines. Absence from performances is completely unacceptable. By entering an audition form, you agree to attend all performances and no exceptions will be tolerated.
Dereham Theatre Company rehearsals start at 7:30pm, by which it is meant that performers will be ready to rehearse at that time. If the Director and/or other production team members are dissatisfied with a performer’s persistent lateness, they can consult the Appeals Committee to take appropriate action, as per the Guidelines.