In an attempt to understand and respond to issues of discrimination and abuse through/in theatre, Mandala formed a ‘Gender and Diversity Focal Committee’ in September 2019. Inviting professional counselors and experts to be in its’ panel, the committee includes 3 members; Karuna Kunwar, Rena Shrestha and Michael Thonhauser.
Karuna Kunwar and Rena Shrestha are professional psychologists and counselors also working actively in field of gender and diversity. Michael Thonahauser is a systemic counselor and working for GIZ Nepal as a peace adviser. The committee works independently and provides support to theatre artists and students in issues related to gender and diversity. All the issues coming to committee will be kept confidential and will be handled sensitively.
As the focal committee is also mandated to conduct workshops and counseling sessions for Mandala’s artists and students, it organized ‘Workshops on Gender and Diversity Sensitive Work in Theatre’ in September and November 2019. The workshop invited 35 theatre artists and students in a safe space to share, analyze and to explore practice steps to prevent gender and diversity-based discrimination and harassment in theatre work.
As the workshop went very well with active participation from young artists, there was a lot of need and request for the continuation of such events from participants. In response, a one day follow up workshop and the second season of the workshop organized in November 2019. The second season of the workshop was participated by 25 theatre artists.
The workshop has also recommended to Mandala Theatre Nepal about their Gender and Diversity Sensitive Work Policy (including workplace and sexual harassment policy). The policy is issued by the board of Mandala and is active since December 2019.
After the workshops, the Gender and Diversity Focal Committee has been working on to respond support-requests by participants with gender and diversity issues asking for help and/or advice.
We request theatre artists and students of Mandala to contact the committee for any such issues.