Statement regarding conduct of Rajkumar Pudasaini
Published on April 19, 2019
The details published in last week’s issue of Nagarik Shukrabar (April 11, 2019), regarding the prevalence of sexual harassment in Kathmandu Theatre are very concerning to Senior Administrators of One World Theatre (OWT). We were especially distressed by the accusations against OWT Co-Artistic Director and Senior Artist Rajkumar Pudasaini and take those accusations very seriously.
Since the publication of the news article, OWT has spoken directly with women who have experienced unwelcome conduct from Mr. Pudasaini. Their testimonies illustrate a history and a pattern of behavior from Mr. Pudasaini that was inappropriate and led to emotional distress to those who experienced it. OWT concludes that Mr. Pudasaini engaged in behavior that constitutes harassment and abuse of power, which goes completely against the ethics and values of the company. OWT has a longstanding history of raising societal issues and thought provoking productions, promoting rights of all genders and many minorities. As mentioned in our standard contracts, “OWT strives to provide a safe, respectful, creative and fun working environment, where each contributes and feels valued”. Mr. Pudasaini breached these values.
OWT has also spoken with Mr. Pudasaini about his behavior. He takes responsibility for his actions and is willing to make amends. We consider a full written public apology to the women he has hurt as the first step in that process of regaining the trust of our theatre community. His continued association with the Company is contingent upon his actions going forward and the concrete steps that he takes to make amends for his mistakes.
Mr. Pudasaini has been placed on Corrective Probation from One World Theatre with the following stipulations: He has been removed from OWT’s next production Brief Candle and will not be associated with it in any capacity. While on the probation, he will not given any OWT directing or teaching assignments for one year, at the end of which the probation will be subject to review. While on Corrective Probation, he will only be directed as an actor by Senior Company Directors and closely supervised. OWT is also mandating paid counseling for Mr. Pudasaini so he can better understand the issue of sexual harassment and his own transgressions.
OWT is chastened that some of Mr. Pudasaini’s behavior took place during OWT productions. It apologizes to Ms. Anu Dahal that her experience working with the company was distressing. It also apologizes to all who have experienced discomfort or unwelcome conduct during their time working with the company. OWT believes them and stands by them. We recognize the courage it took for the women to come forward with their charges and condemn all efforts to diminish or minimize the experiences shared by the women quoted in the article.
OWT is also committed to addressing the issue of sexual harassment within it company and within the wider theatre community. Its senior company members will take the opportunity of these painful but necessary developments to reflect on the underlying issue and to create clearer policies and processes. It invites all other companies in Nepal to do the same so that we can ensure that the theatre is an inclusive and safe space for all.
Founding Artistic Director