The Improv Shop was founded in 2009 with the mission of providing St. Louis a space to explore improv.
As the theater grows, we welcome new students to our training center. To create a strong improv theater, we must build a strong community. We believe, as in improv, community should be built on trust and respect. Thusly, The Improv Shop is deeply committed to providing a training center and community that is free from sexual harassment and/or harassment of any kind (sexual, racial, age-based, religious, ethnic, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, and any other form).
This policy covers conduct that takes place at The Improv Shop theater, annex and all Improv Shop-sponsored events, workshops, classes and events. This policy applies to the entire Improv Shop community including students, teachers, guest instructors, coaches, performers and any individual affiliated with The Improv Shop. This policy also pertains to electronic communication that occurs on Improv Shop-related social media accounts and email/text communication from persons affiliated with The Improv Shop including Improv Shop staff, instructors, coaches and show producers.
To be clear, The Improv Shop does not seek to censor its shows or performers. This theater is dedicated to providing an open environment where students and performers can use life experiences as well as new ideas and concepts to create and explore improv. Occasionally, topics explored or characters discovered may give voice to viewpoints that society finds undesirable, impolite or offensive. Sometimes this may offend some or be harmless to others. The Improv Shop seeks to provide performers and students the artistic freedom to explore any topics or viewpoints even if they may cause discomfort. This experience should be approached with integrity and an open mind, knowing that good improvisation benefits from a broad spectrum of perspectives and experiences.
However, it is the philosophy of this theater that all performers and students approach improvisation with respect for the audience and their fellow community members, both on stage and off, avoiding harassing or abusive conduct targeted towards an individual or individuals.
Harassment and Sexual Harassment Defined
Harassment means persistent unwelcome written, verbal, or physical conduct that has the purpose or effect of interfering with a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from programs at The Improv Shop or makes The Improv Shop an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
Sexual Harassment means persistent and unwelcome written, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature (including but not limited to unwelcome sexual advances and requests for sexual favors) that has the purpose or effect of interfering with a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from programs at The Improv Shop or makes The Improv Shop an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
Sexual Harassment can be verbal (using language of an overtly sexual nature, making sexual comments about a person’s body, making sexual innuendos to a fellow student, artist, or employee, talking or asking about sexual preferences or history, making unwanted advances), non-verbal (looking a person up and down in a suggestive fashion, giving unwanted personal gifts, displaying sexually suggestive visual materials, offensive jokes, gestures, comments, or through social media platforms, including text messages or emails), or physical (unwanted touching of a person’s clothing, hair, or body, standing close or brushing against a person, giving unwanted massages).
Harassment and sexual harassment may be subtle, manipulative, and is not always evident. Sexual harassment also includes sexual assault which will be reported to local law enforcement.
Course of Action
Behavior that contributes to or constitutes unlawful discrimination or harassment will be dealt with firmly — including employment termination, termination of your affiliation with The Improv Shop, being reported to local law enforcement, or any other discipline leadership feels will properly resolve the matter.
Reporting Harassment or Inappropriate Conduct
If you experience or are aware of harassment or inappropriate conduct in violation of the policies stated above, report the matter to your teacher, your coach or to an Improv Shop faculty member.
If you do not know your teacher or coach’s contact information, please email [email protected] and request it.
If, for any reason, a person does not feel comfortable informing one of these individuals, or is not able to do so, that person should report the matter to the Harassment and Assault Liaison, Julia Martin at [email protected].
In addition to official reporting, if you simply want to talk about an experience and not put forth a formal report, email [email protected]. If you feel uncomfortable coming forward, we encourage you to email anonymously.
We aim to provide a space to discuss harassment in a safe, comfortable, non-judgmental space. Please know if this conversation uncovers a pattern of harassment by an individual or if community members are in danger, this group will report to The Improv Shop leadership.
No individual who reports or brings their experiences forth, or who assists The Improv Shop in an investigation, will be subjected to alienation or retaliation. Anyone who feels that they have been the victim of, or threatened with retaliation should immediately inform one of the individuals identified above.
All inquiries, complaints and investigations are treated confidentially. Information is revealed strictly on a need-to-know basis. Information contained in a formal complaint is kept as confidential as possible. However, the identity of the complainant is usually revealed to the respondent and witnesses.
The Improv Shop firmly believes in equal treatment and respect for all. We are committed to equal opportunity for all employees, applicants, performers, instructors and students. The Improv Shop will never allow employment, training and performance selection decisions be influenced by such things such as race, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran’s status, or any other basis prohibited by law.
No one at The Improv Shop (management, employee, instructor, performer, student, coach or guest instructor) may request or require an employee, student, instructor, performer, student, coach or guest instructor or member of the management to submit to sexual harassment as a condition of receiving any benefit such as a raise, promotion, or selection for a performance or leadership position.
We’re confident you’ll help keep The Improv Shop a positive place to play and learn by always acting fairly and considerately towards others, contributing to the self-confidence and self-esteem of others and maintaining positive relationships with employees, students and performers.
Last Edit: September 10th, 2018
Please type your first and last name to signify that you understand the above policy.