Culture 22/02/2021

Institut del Teatre removes Joan Ollé from his post following cases of sexual harassment and abuse of power denounced by ARA

The Department of Culture "strongly condemns" the situations experienced by the students

3 min
Student protests
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BarcelonaJoan Ollé will no longer teach at the Institut del Teatre (IT). He will be removed immediately after the cases of sexual harassment and abuse reported by dozens of students, a case uncovered by ARA on Saturday. The centre's management met this morning with student representatives, who communicated the students' request that this decision be taken. In fact, more than a hundred students demonstrated in the atrium this morning, with proclamations against Ollé and the director, Magda Puyo. "Ollé out!" and "Director, resign!", shouted the students, who were supported by professional actresses and actors who also studied at the IT. There were also several teachers, and some of them applauded the shouts against Ollé.

The commission in charge of investigating the reported facts has met this morning to address this case and initiate an investigation into the facts that affect three teachers and former teachers of the center, Ollé and Jorge Vera and Berty Tovías.

On the other hand, the director of the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya (TNC), Xavier Albertí, has made an institutional statement on Monday about the cases of harassment and abuse of power at the Institut del Teatre uncovered by ARA. "Regarding the professionals mentioned in the press and linked to this theatre, at no point has there been any complaints that could lead to the artistic management to be aware of malpractice," said Albertí. The ARA report reveals harassment and psychological mistreatment by three teachers. One of these, Joan Ollé, has directed five shows at the TNC in recent years. "We have artistic confidence in some of the people mentioned," explained Albertí, who at no time made reference to any explicit name. Albertí also pointed out that the TNC "is the first public theatre in Spain with its own protocol for protection against harassment". The director of the TNC is "absolutely with the victims" and said that he has tried "to work as much as possible to create a working environment based on respect, recognition, peace, equality, feminism and the will to find spaces of harmony".

The Department of Culture of the Generalitat has also "strongly" condemned the cases of harassment and abuse of power by teachers against dozens of students and former students of the IT. "They are especially serious in the fields of education and culture, both inseparable from the transmission of values and personal growth as tools for social transformation," the department says. It also "gives full support to the victims and institutions involved to implement the appropriate actions" and reinforces "its absolute commitment to respect and rigour".

The Associació d'Actors i Directors Professionals de Catalunya (AADPC) has also condemned the facts and expressed its "deep indignation and rejection" to sexual aggression and abuse of power that these teachers have exercised. "It is not admissible, in any case and under any circumstances, to take advantage of a position of power in front of students or future professionals, who, in many cases, will feel admiration for their teachers," said the AADPC, which calls for "responsibilities to be clarified very soon" and offers "support and professional accompaniment to all victims".

The Associació de Professionals de la Gestió Cultural de Catalunya (APGCC) has also expressed, through a statement, its "clear condemnation" of the cases uncovered by the ARA. The APGCC urges the Institut del Teatre "to commit itself to applying a clear protocol in the centre, to denounce to the relevant administrations the cases of which they are aware and to offer the necessary support to the victims so that they have psychological and legal coverage". It also qualifies as serious "and unacceptable" the attitudes described in the report and asks that they be investigated "thoroughly and with all the consequences".

Through ARA, dozens of students and former students of the Institut del Teatre told of situations of harassment and abuse of power, with humiliating comments, humiliation and malpractice by three teachers over 30 years. The Institut del Teatre said yesterday that this Monday the protocol for the prevention of sexual harassment will be activated and the appropriate investigations will be carried out to clarify the facts.

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