The Foundations

The Foundations are the basis upon which our work stands – our commitment to a way of working and a request to uphold it. This is our equity and diversity policy, our dignity at work document, our promise.

Company of Others is a workplace and a methodology. We do not accept ethical compromise. The following are our abiding principles and artistic ethos. We expect anyone who is part of our community to follow them.

We define our community as our members, our audiences, our artists, our staff and our board.

Our aim as a company is to leave the dance and theatre sector more accessible, kinder, and safer for people who have experienced otherness, than where we first found it.

Our Foundations are aspirational: we work as we want the world to be. This is a living document which will be regularly reviewed and revised as we learn and grow, at least annually. Every 12 months, we will set 3 new objectives to translate these principles into practice and action.

1 .We aim to create a space where our community can leave their armour at home. This is a safe, courageous space where we can be free to be who we are regardless of gender, gender identity, age, geography, socio- economic status, disability, neuro-diversity, work status, marital status, appearance, pregnancy and maternity, education, ethnicity, sexual orientation, caring responsibilities, religion and spirituality. We believe people are who they say there are. We accept people’s self-definitions and honour their identities.

2. We are a company of people who are othered by society. As such we ensure that our community is inclusive and our artistic output fully recognises and provides a platform for that community to be heard.

3. We understand that representation matters. We champion and encourage broader representation across the dance and theatre sector. Our community will always be representative of people othered by society, and will ensure visibility for those people to the best of our ability. We will endeavour to welcome into our community, and give our stages to the least represented members of society.

4. We recognise that the best work is made when people feel empowered, nurtured, safe and courageous. We create environments in which our community can grow, learn, create and fail safely.

5. We work in a manner which encourages kindness, care and humour.

6. We expect all of our community to be sensitive and always to ask for consent. When working creatively with sensitive material we will always make it clear that people have the right to step away. Our bodies are our own and each individual gives consent to how and where they are comfortable with touch and proximity with other people.

7. We accept and learn from our mistakes. We take responsibility for our own active learning around diversity, equity and dignity, not waiting to respond to harm done but actively working to prevent it in all areas of our work.

8. We will make any reasonable adjustments and adaptations to allow our community to participate in working with us in any capacity. We encourage our community to be vocal about what they need in order to work with us and will do our utmost to honour all requests.

9. We speak up, for ourselves and others. We do not take responsibility to educate others on our own oppressions but we do commit to being open and generous with people showing a genuine willingness to learn and change.

10. We believe that everyone has a right to experience dance, joy, pleasure and beauty, whatever their background, and will work to uphold that right.

11. We believe everyone has the right to a broad spectrum of experiences within the performing arts sector and will work to uphold that right.

12. We remain curious about each other: our ideas, creativity and knowledge, understanding that as individuals we learn and grow through gathering together.

13. We celebrate educational difference, recognising that we have all experienced learning and the education system in different ways. We recognise lived experience and intuition as skills that are equally as valid as academic education and professional experience. We see our commitment to professional development and training as an ethical responsibility.

14. Whilst we can at times work long, often unsociable hours, and expect people to work to the best of their ability, we do not expect people to prove their worth by working beyond their capacity.

15. We will always pay more than minimum wage and will pay the standard living wage as a minimum for salaried staff, and above Equity and ITC rates as a minimum for freelancers. Remuneration will be fairly assessed based on the role undertaken, and the skills, knowledge, and experience of the individual undertaking the role.

16. We will not collaborate with other organisations whose behaviours make our members, artists, staff or board unsafe. We support our community not only in their interactions with us but with other organisations.

17. We commit to making all of our community aware of their rights and the expectations they can have when working with Company of Others.

18. We affirm the dignity of ourselves and others. We do not tolerate bullying or harassment of any form, including small behaviours which could be considered borderline but which when taken together can form a pattern of unacceptable behaviour towards another person.

19. We recognise that our behaviour impacts those around us, and will respond if we are asked to adjust it. We welcome being held accountable and encourage our community to speak up, either in the moment, or later on via phone, email or in person. We take complaints very seriously and will always act upon them. We have a robust complaints procedure that will always be followed should anyone feel we have breached our Foundations.

Aims and Actions 2023-2024

These are our equity, diversity and inclusion priorities for the next twelve months.

–  Any staff member working three or more days a week will receive mental health first aid training in order to better support our diverse community

–  We will embed artist wellbeing support into our creative processes in order to support our staff stay well during the making of our work

–  Company of Others will embark on a period of learning and investigating the history of the social model of disability alongside specific access training in order to better remove barriers to disabled, learning disabled and neuro-divergent members of our community

This document was:
Created by Nadia Iftkhar (CEO & Artistic Director) with support from Lily Einhorn (Creative Producer): December 2020
Agreed and Signed off by Chair on behalf of Board of Trustees: January 2021, updated April 2022, updated April 23

Review Date: April 2024