Introducing Body Autonomy
Monday, September 17, 2018 12:00 AM

A.R.T./New York has been closely following the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements while listening to the stories and concerns of our members. We've heard that artists and administrators do not know who to report uncomfortable or unsafe interactions to, and how there is a lack of outside support and knowledge about harassment and abuse. We've seen how the traditional power dynamics of a rehearsal room or audition space can be heavily skewed, leaving many without an outlet to bring forward concerns for fear of losing their jobs, possibly harming their career, or being put in an unsafe position. In a collaborative art form, this is unacceptable.

As A.R.T./New York has shaped plans for addressing these issues in our programming, we worked intentionally to build our programming on the framework of restorative justice, and the theories of body autonomy and affirmative consent. Thanks to generous support from the New York Community Trust, we are excited to launch Body Autonomy: A new program that combats cultures of abuse and empowers actors, artists, and participants with control over their bodies on and off stage. Body Autonomy consists of three components:


  1. Education and professional development for member companies and their staffs,
  2. Microgrants to offset the cost of hiring Intimacy Directors for productions including nudity and/or intimate scenes, and 
  3. A subsidized ombud program. This provides an independent, trained person who can assist individuals in mediating conflicts, anonymously sharing concerns, and generally act as a liaison for the organization and the individuals involved in the production. 

The programming will be overseen by a leadership council of artists and administrators. A.R.T./New York is committed to centering the voices and leadership of people of color; trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people, queer folx, and other marginalized voices.