||Issue No. 195||12 September 2003|
Coalition of the Swilling
Interview: Crowded Lives
Activists: Life With Brian
Industrial: National Focus
Unions: If These Walls Could Talk
Economics: Beating the Bastards
Media: Three Corners
History: The Brisbane Line
Trade: The Dumping Problem
Review: Frankie's Way
The Locker Room
Lion King Delivers for Kids
The kids on the cast of Disney’s Lion King will have accredited chaperones to ensure that they are supervised at all times and are not exposed to inappropriate behaviour under a new agreement that looks set to become best practise for the entertainment industry.
Disney Theatrical and the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance worked collaboratively on the Working With Children: Care Policy as part of the first collective agreement for theatre workers in commercial theatre in Australia.
"One of the major issues we were concerned about was the children - in particular the new younger performers - were very safe when they were on stage. The focus is on protecting them at work and protecting those around them," says Michel Hryce, Director, Live Performance and Theatre at the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.
The kids loved being the centre of attention last week at the launch of the policy at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney on September 10. It was the first day in the theatre for the performers, crew and orchestra players who are now counting down 3 weeks to the opening of the Lion King.
Hryce told the child performers that whilst they were still dreaming of a part in the Lion King, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Disney USA and Disney Australia, were hard at work making sure that this production of the Lion King would be the best in the World.
Hryce on behalf of the MEAA welcomed the imported artists and child actors to Australian Theatre and to the ME&AA family.
"I feel great about launching this policy in the Capitol Theatre on your first day in the theatre. It is the 'Best Practice Care Policy' in Australia, yet another first for Disney and the MEAA," says Hryce. "It's a practical guide, which shall assist the whole company in thinking about how you should behave towards each other."
Already the new policy is attracting interest from other performing arts companies.
"The MEAA put out a bulletin saying we were finalising this and the Australian Ballet has already called for a copy of it to look at to look at things they could adopt for their use," says Hryce.
There are two casts of four performers for the child parts in the Lion King, working four shows a week. The new agreement allows the children to continue their school tutoring and addresses non-acceptable behaviour; with a process for reporting, investigating and resolving the issues surrounding such behaviour.
The care policy builds on the Juvenile Code of Practice from the Lion King performers enterprise agreement.
"It will ensure that the child actors on the production have the best experience whilst they are involved," says Hryce. "It will also ensure adult performers will enjoy working with their child peers."
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