An Open Letter to the New Orleans Improv Community

An Open Letter to the New Orleans Improv Community

We have recently become aware of the situation taking place at the The New Movement Theater. From our conversations with folks within the New Orleans improv community, as well as the google form and letter sent from The New Movement Austin, we have come to understand that you are calling for the resignation of Tami and Chris, owners of the New Movement New Orleans. They are being asked to resign due to mishandling sexual assault reports, questioning the mental health of the reporting survivor, engaging in inappropriate relationships with people under their power, as well as lying to the community and stealing from the theater. The details are plentiful and will likely become even more clear in days to come. We are not writing to you to clarify any of these details or ask you to rehash the pain happening in NOLA, but rather to offer support for your community and encourage the work you are doing.

FairPlay MN is an organization and advocacy group based in the Twin Cities that acts to build equitable space for women, trans, femme and non-binary improvisers on our stages. In the past two years we have worked within our own community to call out harassment and assault, educate improvisers, teachers and community leaders on setting and respecting boundaries. We have engaged and drawn our community together to address the issues of sexual assault, harassment and rape culture in how it affects our performance and relationships.

As an organization, we extend our full support to your community as you ask Tami and Chris to end their positions as owners of The New Movement. Not just stepping down, but completely removing themselves as owners. We support your boycott of the theater and encourage the conversation you are having now about what happens next. You are doing the work, and the work is extremely difficult. This is happening in your community now, but it has happened in one improv community after another, all across the country. You are not alone. The pain that comes with these awful revelations is intense, deep and lasting. We have experienced that pain in Minneapolis, and unfortunately we as a nation will continue to experience that pain as more stories of sexual assault and harassment come to light.

As you move forward, we hope to offer you support in your rebuild process. We have created a folder of documents that we are happy to share with your community to use as a starting place for building advocacy in your own theaters around sexual assault, harassment and rape culture. In addition to those resources, we can offer some guidance as to what things can happen next to help your community grow and flourish. We have worked with other improv communities to help rebuild their community guidelines and would be ecstatic to work with you in any way you need. We understand that the most important thing at this time is just to get through the next few days and weeks, and persist in making your voices loud until they are heard.

We have your back.

Sincerely,

The FairPlay MN Leadership Team