CODE OF CONDUCT
People taking improv classes are often nervous and are placing themselves in the trust of the teacher for the time they are there. We often don’t know our classmates very well and we can feel vulnerable.
It can help if everyone in the class is following the same set of guidelines for behaviour within the community of the class. For this reason, The Ministry have a code of conduct to ensure that classes are enjoyable, creatively fulfilling, and safe for everyone involved.
CODE OF CONDUCT
You will hear the phrase ‘Yes And’, which is a core concept of improvisation meaning the acceptance and building of another person’s idea. However, you are not obliged to go along with what another person says if what they offer is dangerous, inappropriate or makes you feel uncomfortable.
You are always free to stop doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable, regardless of if you are on stage, doing a scene in front of your class, or in a small group.
Taking time out from an exercise because you need space for whatever reason is fine and you are always welcome back into the class provided you follow the code of conduct. There is only one teacher so they are unlikely to be able to check up on you in that moment, but they might do so when there is a break.
Remember, your values are not the same as others’. Assume your classmate or stage partner would rather NOT be touched unless they have explicitly consented. You can check with them before a scene or exercise if they are OK with things like hugging and handholding, but also remember this might place them in a difficult position of feeling they need to say yes at that time.
Do not touch sexual or erogenous areas under any circumstances.
Respect physical boundaries and do not do anything that might endanger or hurt another person, such as climb on people’s backs, slap, or pull them.
Do not act verbally or physically aggressive towards another person in the class.
Sometimes you might play a villain or morally repugnant person, but it will be very clear this is in scene and is rare in a beginners or intermediate class, where the atmosphere is jovial and light.
Please remember that if we have explored the views of a particular character, it doesn’t mean that your classmate holds those views in real life. If someone has played your wife/husband/significant other in a scene, they are not actually in love with you and they are not obliged to pay you lots of attention in real life.
Scenes with groping, simulated sex, abuse, or sexual aggression are not appropriate in these classes.
We all have different life experiences and things that make us upset. In a beginners or intermediate class, we are probably at the social level of a work colleague. It’s polite to keep things moderate in terms of political views and stay clear of common triggers such as suicide and domestic abuse.
In advanced or specialist classes, we might explore characters with prejudiced viewpoints and that is fine if the scene is treated with emotional intelligence. We would discourage (and don’t coach) playing characters with a prejudiced viewpoint for a punchline, especially if the laughs are at the expense of a victimised group (‘punching down’.)
LATENESS AND HOUSEKEEPING
Please be on time for your class, warm-ups are part of the class bonding and prepare you for the session – they are also super-fun!
If you cannot make a class, or you will be late, let the teacher know, as this means it’s easier to plan the session and your classmates can fully benefit from the lesson.
Please refrain from using your mobile phone in lessons unless you need it for a good reason such as note-taking or childcare. If that is the case, please let your teacher know so they don’t think you are being rude.
Carla is teaching this course. If you have a difficulty or problem, please approach Carla in the first instance, and Carla will try and resolve it swiftly. However, The Ministry are a company, and as such, if you feel uncomfortable approaching Carla, you can contact either Mark (male) or Erica (female) in confidence.