Seven students of the Institut del Teatre filed a complaint against Joan Ollé on Monday

A teacher assures the assembly of students that there is a second teacher under investigation

3 min
Demonstration at the Theatre Institute

BarcelonaFor the second day in a row, the students of the Institut del Teatre (IT) have demonstrated again in the atrium of the building. This time, after reading again the manifesto to show their indignation for the cases of harassment and abuses of power uncovered by the ARA and reiterating the request for the resignation of the management, the students held an assembly to decide the next steps. While the students were considering the possibility of calling a strike - at the moment it is not confirmed - one of the teachers of the IT has joined to ask that both the faculty and the students row in the same direction. And he has announced that there are two names of teachers on the table. Therefore, beyond Joan Ollé, who yesterday Monday was removed from the faculty, there is a second case of a teacher who will be investigated. A fact that, for the moment, the direction of the center denies.

In parallel, the first formal complaint has also arrived since the protocol against sexual harassment was created in 2018. On Monday afternoon, the first instance officially presented by seven students of the school was registered. Èric Pons has been the one who has made public the complaint against Ollé, denouncing "all kinds of mistreatment, verbal violence" and "sexual innuendo to classmates". One example: telling a student "not to suffer" because "you couldn't see her tits, that he was looking at her all the time and that you couldn't see them". Alcohol was another problem, because Ollé taught drunk and the students, at the end of 2020, told the director of the ESAD (Escuela Superior de Arte Dramática), Montse Vellvehí, who replied: "What are you going to tell me, you know what Joan is like". The teacher did not inform of the existence of a protocol and said that in order to dismiss Ollé a complaint was needed.

Last Friday students sent an email to management, who summoned them in two weeks. As a result of the publication of the ARA report, the management hastened them to present the complaint formally. Pons explained a conversation with Ollé on the last day of the workshop. The teacher told them: "If I've done it so badly, report me". The newspaper has also learned of another complaint that will be presented to the centre despite the fact that it is a case that would have prescribed, according to the current protocol, which only accepts requests from students who are currently studying in the IT or did so at most a year ago.

After Monday, the IT announced that Joan Ollé has been removed. The theatre director has issued a statement through the radio where he collaborates, the SER, to claim "the right to the presumption of innocence, as fundamental as freedom of the press". He has also asked to appear before the bodies that have been created in the Institut del Teatre and the Diputació de Barcelona as a result of the institutional conflict that has arisen. The IT has also confirmed that, following the protocol against harassment, the precautionary or preventive measure of suspension of teaching activity that has been applied to Joan Ollé implies that he continues to maintain his salary until the open file is closed.

This morning, students have begun to create committees and open a mailbox to receive testimonies from the same IT and other centers. In fact, this Tuesday in the atrium there were students from the Col-legi de Teatre and the Conservatori Superior de Dansa, dependent on the IT, where underage students study.

Reactions from public theatres

The unanimous reaction of the theatre sector rejecting the abuse of power in theatre has been joined on Tuesday by the two major public theatres of Barcelona. The Teatre Nacional has shown its "firm position in favour of the victims", as its director, Xavier Albertí, did yesterday. The Teatre Lliure has also shown "implacable commitment against any kind of harassment based on sex, sexual orientation and/or gender identity". The two theatres affirm that not everything goes in the name of art. "It has taken our society centuries to get here, but finally we have all understood that there is no reason, nor any supposed talent, that justifies attacking the dignity of people, especially women", says the TNC, which ends by stating: "Zero tolerance". The avalanche of reactions continues in the networks and in the media with new testimonies that widen the scope of the abuses and also point towards other teachers.