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Actors describe bullying environment at Houston theater

January 12, 2018

HOUSTON (AP) — More than a dozen current and former employees of a renowned Houston theater allege the outgoing artistic director had created a toxic work atmosphere by singling out young actresses for verbal abuse.

Gregory Boyd, 66, abruptly retired this week from the Alley Theatre. The company’s tax records show Boyd was a year into a five-year contract and was paid at least $420,000 in fiscal year 2016, the Houston Chronicle reported .

The allegations mainly focus on bullying and abusive behavior toward young women under his direction on the stage. Emily Trask, an actress at the company for almost two years, quit in April after reporting that Boyd bullied her, called her vulgarities and twice touched her inappropriately.

“I felt I had no choice but to leave what was my dream job,” Trask told the newspaper, adding that she experienced “harassment and what I felt to be an unsafe environment.”

Trask and another actress with similar allegations said they complained to management but saw no changes. Blair Gulledge, who worked as a resident costume design assistant at the theater from 2006 through 2013, called Boyd “tyrannical.” Some former employees said the problems won’t be solved just by Boyd’s departure.

Boyd didn’t respond to requests for comment on the allegations, according to the newspaper. Theater officials declined comment, and a spokeswoman said they had no plans to respond to interviews.

The Alley grew in national prominence during Boyd’s time, winning a Tony award and breaking attendance records.

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Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com

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