Theatres Encouraged To Use Gender Neutral Terms
Theatres are being urged to ditch phrases such as 'ladies and gentlemen' in favour of more gender-neutral terms in new guidelines from actors' trade union Equity.
In newly published guidelines surrounding working with LGBT+ performers, theatres are being encouraged to use 'gender neutral terminology for collective calls, both front of house and backstage'.
According to The Sunday Times, the National Theatre has said it will be phasing out using the term 'ladies and gentlemen', with a spokesperson telling the paper: "We do not use 'ladies and gentlemen' back of house and this is being phased out in our front-of-house announcements."
Meanwhile, the Royal Shakespeare Company has said it would be carrying out a 'comprehensive review' of its policies and looking at 'all announcements, signage and the introduction of some gender-neutral facilities'.
The RSC told the paper it welcomed the new guidelines adding that it would 'strive to create environments which welcome and support trans people and people who identify their gender as fluid'.
Nica Burns, a co-owner of Nimax Theatres, which runs a number of London's West End's biggest theatres, told the paper: "Coming to the theatre is a shared and communal experience in one single auditorium and we want to please our audience and give them a great evening. We wouldn't want anyone to feel offended or annoyed."
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Burns explained the theatres tended to keep things pretty simple and just use phrases such as 'good evening' or 'welcome'.
While dealing with actors, the Equity guidelines state: "Avoid backhanded compliments or 'advice' regarding to appearance, clothing, voice quality, identity or the performer being 'brave'."
The union has also urged for casting bosses to choose transgender performance to play non-trans characters.
The guide continued: "It is hard for trans actors to build a career out of the very small amount of trans-specific roles if these are the only roles for which they are actively sought."
Equity LGBT+ committee member Tigger Blaize said: "We are really excited about launching our guide. It's designed to be a toolkit of ideas, encouraging industry professionals to feel confident in approaching performers who identify as LGBT+, if they were previously unsure."
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