Consensual Touch Policy
Martha-Ellen Tye Opera is dedicated to integrating consent-based practices into all production environments. In all production activities, all participants are expected to abide by the Consensual Touch Policy and Intimacy Best Practices.
- In Opera, physical contact may be a part of the production staging. The Director and Cast members commit to asking for consent prior to physical touch each time. The student has the right to say yes or no in that moment.
- Ask before you touch
Be specific about the contact
- For what purpose
- Try Open Questions
- “Does that work for you?”
- Be prepared for “no”
- Offer alternatives
- Demonstrating on yourself
- Using their own hands
- Using Props
Production, Staging, Choreographing Intimacy
- In addition to Consensual Touch, Intimacy requires the following:
- Practice a consent-based process
- Use an Audition Disclosure form to allow performers to opt-in or out of intimacy.
- Use The Button.
- Establish Boundaries
- A third party such as Stage Management must always be present for the staging of intimacy.
- Productions with Intimacy should have a no-cell phone policy in rehearsal and backstage for all members of the production.
- Directors will never step into stage intimate moments or have any physical contact with the performers during the staging or rehearsal process of intimacy.
- Use non-sexual language for staging the intimacy or discussing it.
- If you need to talk about the performer’s actions, use character names.
- Refrain from making sexual jokes, innuendo, or comments.
- All intimacy, regardless of how simple or straight-forward it might be, must be choreographed.
- Choreography must be notated by stage management.
- Notation should be written. Video recordings of intimacy should not be created for privacy.
- Performers must not deviate from choreography.
- If a performer’s boundaries change that alters the choreography, they should notify the director as soon as possible so modifications can be made.
- In Production, performers must discuss any changes to choreography with the director and may not make changes themselves.
- Placeholders may be used any time during or after choreography is set except during performances.
Integrate The Button
- In any exercise, a participant says “Button” if they need to briefly hold to clarify a boundary.
- When a participant calls “Button”, the participant offers a way to continue working that works for their boundaries (for example using placeholders like a palm to palm or high five, etc)
Communication Best Practices
- In production, if you have a concern regarding intimacy or consensual touch, please speak with a faculty or staff member associated with the production (i.e.: Director, Production Stage Manager, Production Manager, or Department Chair).