#TheStories, part 8Editorial
The summer after my first year of undergrad, I sang in the chorus for a two-performance production with a major Canadian opera company. It was an important, difficult work and I was very excited to be a part of it. The cast and chorus were fairly large, but I had sung in choirs at that theatre many times so I felt comfortable.
I realized that this behaviour was not accidental and I avoided him the rest of the show.
During a run of the show, I was standing in the hallway waiting for the chorus’ next entrance, when a well-known older male singer in the cast, with whom I had never spoken, walked past me. As he did, he placed the flat of his hand on the small of my back, just above my bum. I was taken aback that a professional singer, who I thought was an amazing musician, would randomly touch me in such an intimate way, a young woman he had never met.
I mentioned the singer to my private voice teacher (who had an established performing career prior to teaching) and said he was “very friendly.” My teacher raised their eyebrows and said, “Oh yes, he is friendly, watch out.” I realized that this behaviour was not accidental and I avoided him the rest of the show.
This incident didn’t cause me any personal pain or loss of work. That doesn’t make it okay. He had no right to touch my body.
The chorus was told not to speak to members of the lead cast unless they first spoke to us. But they can touch us without permission?