The future of the Institut del Teatre
The case of abuse of power and sexual harassment uncovered by ARA at the Institut del Teatre in Barcelona continues its course. The institution concerned has released the first results of the work carried out by the prevention and investigation commission set up to investigate a matter that has shaken the profession and public opinion, and which led to the resignation of the centre's entire management team. The conclusions of this commission the conclusions of this monitoring committee affect thirteen teachers, of whom three will be disciplined and one might face charges of sexual harassment. Out of the ten complaints received from nineteen students and former students, the commission has only focused on the cases of students or former students who have left the school a year ago at most. The human resources department of the Institut itself will have to deal with the rest. Much remains to be clarified. And it is important to get to the bottom of it, out of respect for both the victims and the institution itself.
The best thing for the Institut del Teatre is not to leave things half-finished, but discover the truth behind the accusations in order to approach the future with guarantees, to start again with the utmost confidence. A high-level educational institution such as this - in fact, no educational centre - cannot allow even the slightest shadow of suspicion in the matter of abuse. Its survival and credibility are at stake. The Institut del Teatre, with a century of history behind it, has been and must continue to be an institution of excellence that supplies good future professionals to a Catalan theatre industry that has also demonstrated, for decades, its creative capacity. The public's confidence in a respected and highly valued sector must be recovered. The people most interested in making this happen are actors and actresses themselves, and professional theatre as a whole.
The current interim director of the Institut, Núria Plana, acknowledges that it is necessary to "build a new paradigm in a safe and secure environment" within the centre. Fortunately, in matters of abuse, social sensitivity has changed a lot in a few years, and behaviours that in the past were silenced and even tolerated today are no longer so. The Institut del Teatre, as has happened with many cases in other work, religious or sporting environments that have also been exposed and denounced by this newspaper, had practices that must be banished once and for all. To do this, of course, it is not enough to turn the page: it is necessary to truly clarify what has happened. And from here, in fact, there is the opportunity for a relationship of respect between all the members of the community to start again on a new basis, where positions of power are not used in any case as a basis for any kind of psychological or sexual harassment. It must be clear, therefore, that within the Institut del Teatre there will be no repetition of malpractice in the classroom, something that certainly does not have to be detrimental either to academic freedom or to the creativity and artistic sensitivity of teachers and students. In fact, a more respectful environment will only enhance all these aspects.