[Theaterfacultystaff] FW: Nudity in University Productions - UPDATE

Condee, William condee at ohio.edu
Thu May 11 08:56:44 EDT 2017

Dear Colleagues,

I thought you might find this summary of policies (or lack thereof) interesting.

With best regards,


William F. Condee
J. Richard Hamilton Professor of Humanities
Professor of Theater
School of Interdisciplinary Arts, Ohio University
31 S. Court St, #061


On 5/4/17, 10:18 AM, "Connors, Timothy" <conno1td at cmich.edu> wrote:

    A couple of weeks ago I posted a request for policies related to nudity in university theatre productions. Several people asked to know what I found out so here an update on responses.
    The number of responses wasn’t large — possibly due to timing of the request.
    Of the responses, only one had a definite policy — no nudity in productions.
    A respondent from a major university in large metropolitan area where students can sometimes find professional work, says that while there is no formal policy they have made it clear that students will not appear nude in professional roles.
    All of the rest of the responses fell into the same broad category — "we don’t have a formal policy because we haven’t had any issues in the last 10-20-30 years because we haven’t done plays with nudity in them.”
    Some respondents commented on nudity no longer carrying the shock value it once did and/or that nudity is rarely an integral part of the story in recent years.
    Almost everyone expressed concerns about faculty directors asking students to appear partially or fully nude.  The inherent power dynamic, the student’s willingness to please (or fear of not being cast again if they said no), etc., were often mentioned.  
    Many also stated that although their university does not have a stated policy on nudity they would oppose nudity in all circumstances of student-directed productions.
    My concerns over student safety in both faculty- and student-directed productions are what prompted my initial post.  I’m not surprised that many others share those concerns but I was a little surprised at the lack of explicit policy.  A couple of responses suggested reviewing local/state laws as well something, frankly, that hadn’t appeared on my radar when first thinking about the issue.
    Thanks to everyone who responded.
    Happy final exams and grading!
    Timothy D. Connors
    Professor of Theatre
    Central Michigan University
    Office/Voice:  989-774-3815
    Fax:  989-774-2498

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