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  1. ITV Report

West End actor claims she was sexually harassed while performing on stage

By Ria Chatterjee: ITV News reporter

A West End actor claims she was sexually harassed while performing on stage in front of an audience of more than a thousand people.

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The actor spoke anonymously to ITV News worried that if she speaks publicly it could damage her career.

Her story reveals that behind the bright lights lies a serious issue that many are too scared to report.

The one thing that sticks out in my mind is when I was in a show we get to the end and we do the shoulder lift. His hand was between my legs and he was doing things that he shouldn't have been doing.

It made me feel really vulnerable obviously because there were over a thousand people in the audience watching and I could do nothing about it.

Minor things which I've had throughout my career have been... general use of inappropriate language towards me. Grabbing of my breasts.

– Actor, speaking anonymously

The actor has been working for over a decade mostly in the West End. #timesup, many are shouting on harassment within London's theatre industry.

A director claims lines are often blurred in the name of artistic spontaneity.

What's been revealed recently is the amount of everyday sexism and the amount of compromise people have faced.

And it's not just actresses. It's people across the industry.

We historically have always in the theatre had fight directors. You can't improvise a fight because it's dangerous and some one will get hurt.

And yet, you can improvise a sex scene where psychologically that can be far more damaging.

– Jessica Swale, writer and director

Jessica says the culture can be overly friendly and relaxed. Mix that with a lack of official rules and boundaries are often crossed.

We trade on very flimsy reputations in this industry where you go from job to job - you try and keep working and you rely on all of your contacts.

And, actually, nobody really wants to be known as that actor who's well known for the harassment claim.

– Jessica Swale, writer and director

Jessica says it shouldn't be that way which is why information is key. Actors are being send out to drama schools to share their experiences. Trained intimacy directors will be introduced to choreograph certain scenes.

The fledgling #timesup movement in theatreland is ready to initiate change.

I hope to see that more women are feeling confident and empowered and feeling bold and brave to call out forms of discrimination.

I don't think anything is easy when fighting for liberation.

– Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, UK Black Pride

I didn't report it. I guess I thought that yes, it would jeopardise my career or it would get laughed off. The #timesup movement is already changing things - things are coming to light now. And I think it will be a slow process. But it will change. It has to change.

– Actor, speaking anonymously

Watch the report in full below