Guardians Programme

‘We devised the Guardians Programme in dialogue with our staff to enshrine our values and workplace culture. It grew out of our desire to help reassure people they have a voice. We want everyone to have a way to share their concerns with someone outside of the ‘regular’ reporting line. Our Guardians actively listen and support, offering confidential advice on options, with discretion and empathy. It is incredible to see the commitment in both the arts and other sectors in embracing a solution that helps reframe how our workforces share concerns, escalate issues, and enjoy working together respectfully’
Kate Varah, Executive Director

The Old Vic Guardians are a group of trained staff who offer a confidential outlet for colleagues to share concerns about behaviour or the culture at work.

The Guardians programme is an Old Vic innovation designed to help any organisation go further in its commitment to creating a safe and secure working environment for all. The information pack about how to create a Guardians Programme is available for download below.

Additionally, a Guardians Network has been formed to bring together the group of organisations from all sectors (not just the arts) who have implemented the principles of a Guardian Programme.

We have created a practical guide so there is no barrier to implementation no matter what size the organisation or the level of their resource. And, through the Network, organisations can access pro bono legal training for their Guardians three times a year from Lewis Silkin, share best practice within the group on anonymised trends and learnings and centralise resources.

Each organisation, each industry, will have experiences and solutions with universal application that, through this open collaboration of resources and ideas, will benefit and strengthen us all.

The Guardians Network

Almeida Theatre
Birmingham Royal Ballet
Bush Theatre
Camphill Village Trust
Chichester Festival Theatre
Croydon Council
Donmar Warehouse
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society
English National Ballet
English National Opera
English Touring Opera
Exeter Northcott Theatre
Gate Theatre
Glyndebourne Productions Ltd
Hampstead Theatre
Houses of Parliament
JHI Marketing/Fane Productions
King’s Head Theatre
Lewis Silkin LLP
Lime Pictures
Lyric Hammersmith
National Portrait Gallery

National Theatre of Scotland
New Adventures
Nottingham Playhouse
Nuffield Southampton Theatres
Penguin Random House
Playful Productions
Police Now
Progress Wrestling
Rifco Theatre Company
Rose Theatre Kingston
Royal & Derngate Theatre (NTT)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Runaway Entertainment
Sadler’s Wells
Sheffield Theatres
Society of Authors
Society Of London Theatre & UK Theatre
Soho Theatre
Southbank Centre
Unicorn Theatre
Union Chapel
Willis Towers Watson
WDW Entertainment
ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company
The Old Vic

If you would like any further information about the Programme, or to join the Network, contact Deputy Executive Director, Rowena Russell by email or 020 7928 2651.


In addition to our own initiatives, we are committed to UK Theatre and SOLT’s Ten Principles. These offer a shared vision to promote a safe and inclusive workplace environment that is positive and supportive, and that everyone – employers, employees, workers, freelancers, volunteers, directors and trustees – should adhere to.

The Old Vic is also proud to be a part of the Lewis Silkin movement #aLastingChange, which is a useful resource for ideas, collaboration, information, legal insight and opinions on how we can create a long-lasting improvement in women’s experience of work and overall make the working environment a better place for everyone.*

* To access free precedent and share resources, go to