This discussion was shaped by the realisation that safe space is an issue for all concerned with or touched by theatre: performers, producers, writers, directors, audience, wider theatre-makers and theatre staff.

It spanned an enquiry into all types of affect, from obvious triggers to illegal or immoral 'isms' to simple bad taste.

The group concluded by citing the PACE Model of Care (which advocates four pillars of conduct to ensure ethical behaviour: Playfulness; Acceptance; Curiosity; Empathy) - as an excellent starting point for creating and upholding safe space.

It was proposed that 'Calling In' is more helpful than 'Calling Out'.

It was proposed across the session by various contributors that actively trying to create safe space across the entire time span of a project is positive:
1. Pre-project. Mutually agreed, horizontal hierarchy 'contracts' to ethical behaviour in the room to a considered debriefing set-up are good practice. These don't have to be hard written and would be simple and few non-negotiables. Positive language to be encouraged, rather than a list of 'don'ts'. Ask individuals whether they need an action plan before they start.
2. During the project. Try to create the correct scaffolding conducive to safe space. Make a place that feels safe enough that risks can be taken. Let people sit comfortably in the 'stretch zone' that lies between the 'comfort zone' and the 'panic zone'. If someone is upset, do not block, indulge or rescue: everyone has the right to be upset and this might actually be part of a person's positive process and work. Allow time for safe space to actualise - you cannot rush trust-building.
3. After the project. A good debriefing is paramount - almost to the point of reverse-engineering a project.
4. Institutional safe space. Create codes of conduct and policies that honour every individual's right to safe space and hold organisations to accountability on safe space training and delivery.

In terms of the moment of performance, we asked where the responsibility lies - is it with the performer or with the audience? Where does the line get drawn? A distinction was called between the Dramatic (ie. legitimate provocations that are the grist of theatre) and the Traumatic (ie. triggering content that at the very least need prior warnings).

Safe Space constitutes a preliminary contract to put everyone on the same 'safe' page. Cited as good practitioners of this were in Bristol, who conduct a pre-project pledge that commits to ethical conduct.

Theatre Publicity: the publicity could reflect the play's content, especially if there is triggering content, even if to divulge it is classed as a 'spoiler'.
One positive experience example given: An announcement during the interval of The Sex-Worker's Opera where an usher stood in the bar and clearly announced there would be a scene of violence in the second half and those wishing not to see it could leave during that time, when it was flagged that it was about to start. Some theatres, however, deliberately don't flag up possible triggers beforehand because of their not wanting to interrupt 'the magic of unknowing'.

It was suggested that it's possible to explore an issue but if it isn't framed safely and dealt with ethically, it will be explored to the exclusion of the people who have suffered that particular issue - which is a plan backfiring.

Forum Theatre: discussion about the potentially unsafe nature of unpacking personal stories.
Example 1: A Meet-Up Forum Theatre drop-in that was self-decided to discuss sexual assault but in which pairings occurred that felt unsafe when a man became too invested in workshopping the subject matter. Suggested solutions: bring micro-groups into the full room for wider discussion with every person taking on every role and therefore creating empathy; also, a role-reversal situation, also played out to the room.
Example 2: A US trauma clinic that takes war stories that are historical and workshops those, so that ex-soldiers are never dealing directly with autobiographical PTSD experiences but are unpacking them through a removed veil.
Example 3: It has been established that to use personal stories in a prison setting, in particular, can be used against the person who shared that stories. It was proposed that there are very few well-being policies or institutional responsibility in these settings. It was reminded that once something is being unpacked, there needs to be a clear and reasonable support system to contain what emerges.

Clowning: It was remarked on that some people who suffer PTSD cannot be triggered when they are clowning - owing to the nature of the mask.

To have a drama therapist on a theatre project helps the company process difficult subject matters.

Resources cited:
The Power: Naomi Alderman (2016)
Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race: Reni Eddo-Lodge (2017)
I Laughed, I Cried: Viv Groskop (2013)

freelancers are the hardest people to protect. Creative space is harder to make rules for. But once you lose trust it's much harder to regain it.