There is nothing worse than completing a great performance and then realizing that your belongings have been stolen. It leaves you feeling dejected and helpless. Unfortunately having your things stolen has happened to far too many performers and neither artists nor producers may not be aware of exactly what to do when theft happens. These do's and don't will help all parties involved to handle the situation in best way possible. the
DO understand that theft can occur anywhere. It doesn't necessarily have to happen backstage. If belongings are left unattended at any point there is a risk for someone taking your stuff.
DO acknowledge that something has happened and treat all parties involved like you would want to be treated-like a human being that has been violated.
DO immediately activate your empathy and help the person to go through the emotional responses that may take place as a result of the theft: People may cry, become angry, or just be melancholy. The responses will vary depending on the person and how they handle things. No matter how they handle it please be sympathetic and understanding.
DON'T make this about you! Please remember that it may be difficult to run a show and make sure that it runs smoothly but the moment is NOT about YOU. It is about the performer who is the victim in the situation.
DON'T just sit there and hope for things to be returned. All members of the show should look for the belongings and alert the venue staff as to what has occurred.
DO file a police report with the authorities!
DON'T go without contacting the performer personally and in a one on one fashion. The only things worse than having something taken from you is being made to feel like the show producer or staff does not care that it was stolen. Once a person has informed ANY member of the staff that something was stolen an administrator needs to PERSONALLY contact the performer and let them know that they are supported and that all things are being done to remedy the situation. While texting and email is communication it is impersonal and may seem cold and distant. It is at this time that calls should be made directly to the performer (preferably there should be a face to face discussion); both to let the person know that you are there for them and to expedite the process of getting their things returned to them or other actions that need to take place. It can take quite a bit of time to respond to an email or text, especially if a phone was stolen, or an electronic device that may cause the performer to respond in a slower manner.
DO be nice to the performer. After all, they can sue both you and the establishment. While this is not regularly done and there is a kind of unspoken acceptance when things go wrong; the performer has a right to sue the show producers, staff, and the venue. They can also file a police report and press charges if they know who stole their things.
DO try to replace the items that were stolen and/or try to help the performer get them back as quickly as possible.
DO pay the performer in a timely manner because all monies will be needed to replace stolen merchandise.
DON'T think people are not capable of thievery. Although it may appear that a person is trustworthy they may not be or their intentions may not be good. Even if you you have been working with someone for a long period of time they may still be capable of doing things that you may not otherwise have thought them capable of.
DON'T think that it's all on the producer or show staff to know everything about your stuff. You have to alert the staff as to exactly what was taken and the circumstances. You also have to work WITH them (every step of the way) to get your goods back or get them replaced.
DO know that there is more to being a stage manager than just telling artists the time they have to go on stage. In theater most belongings are locked away in a safe space if they are valuable and are only accessible by the stage manager and any specific performer (not allowing more than one performer in the space at any given time). This is a practice that burlesque persons should adhere to.
DO learn from when things go shockingly wrong and try not to let it happen again.
DO work as a team. We are all in this together! If there is any suspicious activities or people who enter the venue alert the show staff as well as the performers. Watch over each others stuff. DO realize it could be you next time who gets things taken from them so be helpful and supportive!