Friday, June 10, 2011

Professionalism and a code of conduct

Partly as a result of recent discussions regarding professional status, Council ended up discussing a tangentially related issue: professionalism. In fact, we ended up there repeatedly. It's was pretty easy; there is a strong connection between the status (earning a livelihood, for instance) and behaviour (turning up for rehearsals on time).

Although professionalism is not a formal topic on the Council agenda at the moment, I thought it might be interesting to hear from the membership on the subject. So, I created a placeholder for a new post.

Shortly afterward, I received a link to a website article, which reports on a code of conduct created in 1945 for the Circle Players, an ensemble-based theatre in Los Angeles (thanks, L). I've copied some of it below, but you can see the original LASTAGE post here. A couple of days later I got an email from another colleague, proposing that Equity set standards for dressing room behaviour (thanks, B).

There seemed to be some kind of alignment in the stars on this topic, so over to you. As a professional artist, what would you nominate for a code of professional behaviour? 
Are there even "traditional" standards that ought to be relaxed or removed as no longer applicable.

And of course, it would be interesting to hear from members on the matter of dressing room and rehearsal hall etiquette, especially in regards to all the newfangled gadgetry that has shown up in the last little while. Funny, how we ask patrons to turn off cellphones, but we don't do it ourselves...

The full Circle Players code includes 17 points, but here are the first 7 to chew on for starters:
  1. I shall never miss a performance.
  2. I shall play every performance with energy, enthusiasm and to the best of my ability regardless of size of audience, personal illness, bad weather, accident, or even death in my family.
  3. I shall forego all social activities which interfere with rehearsals or any other scheduled work at the theatre, and I shall always be on time.
  4. I shall never make a curtain late by my failure to be ready on time.
  5. I shall never miss an entrance.
  6. I shall never leave the theatre building or the stage area until I have completed my performance, unless I am specifically excused by the stage manager; curtain calls are a part of the show.
  7. I shall not let the comments of friends, relatives or critics change any phase of my work without proper consultation; I shall not change lines, business, lights, properties, settings or costumes or any phase of the production without consultation with and permission of my director or producer or their agents, and I shall inform all people concerned.
Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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