Frankly Speaking Episode Eight: Abuse of Power in the Theatre

Facebook Live

Event Details

With panelists Molly Diers, Laura Stearns, Elena Giannetti, and Pogi Sumangil. Moderated by Wendy Knox.


There are rumblings about the possibility that live theatre may be opening up again in the near future. And there are many other rumblings as our community wrestles with a social reckoning touching on so many areas.
We will be emerging from this pandemic with a need to address and rectify many issues that have seemed out of balance in many different arenas.
Join us for a conversation about how the abuse of power within the theatre affects the lives of the artists who make this theatre community thrive and what we as a community can do to be part of the needed change.
Our panelists for this episode:
  • Molly Diers worked as a carpenter in the Guthrie scene shop off and on for 13 years. She won an unfair labor practice case against the theatre for its toxic work environment where sexual harassment was constant and is now a freelance carpenter and president of IATSE local 13, the Minneapolis/St. Paul chapter of the international union of stagehands.
  • Laura Stearns, an actor/writer, was a 15-year-old student at CTC when a teacher raped her. Several years ago, she brought a lawsuit against the theatre, an action that spurred other legal settlements with the many students who were abused for years at that institution.
  • Elena Giannetti is a director with more than 30 years of experience as an actor, producer and artistic director in the Twin Cities theater community. Throughout her career, she has personally experienced and been witness to abuses of power and is committed to building back better as our industry returns to the stage.
  • Pogi Sumangil is a Filipino American actor/playwright who has navigated the largely white waters of the Twin Cities theatre community for 20 years. He is very familiar with the power dynamics of the theatre community and has also worked as a trainer with the military to help prevent sexual assault.
The public is invited to participate in a Q&A following the discussion on Facebook Live.
FRANKLY SPEAKING: What’s Up With That? will be on Facebook Live monthly with discussions between theatre artists about the critical issues facing the arts, culture, and society. Like Frank’s Facebook page and get notifications when we’re going live! FRANKLY SPEAKING episodes will be available after the live air date on Facebook, Vimeo, and the Frank Theatre website.

Part of Frank Theatre’s mission is to create work that “explores ideas and issues of social, political and/or cultural concern.” Although that mission cannot be accomplished on the stage during COVID, Frank Theatre believes in the importance of continuing to have conversations that question the world we live in. Taking the moniker from Frank’s regular newsletter, “FRANKLY SPEAKING: What’s Up With That?” invites the public to join in an exploration of the kinds of questions that drive and inform the work that Frank typically puts on stage