How to deal with problems with cast members in a production you're in

When a problem with other cast members, directors or anyone else from your production occurs there's a couple of things that will be going through your mind:

Firstly if you deal with these issues the wrong way then your reputation is at hand, and this might affect who wants to work with you in the future. Remember that this industry is small and if you person thinks that you're difficult to work with or even unpleasant to be around then this could spread like wildfire. Even if in the first instance you are in the right, how you deal with a situation, especially in such close and intense environments as theatres or film sets, reflects upon you.

The other thing is that tensions within a production can effect the production, and we want to keep these to a minimum so that we can produce the best results, as that is essentially what we are here to do, and compromising the show because of some disagreement or personality clash should not be an option. You have to work well with your fellow creatives, and you have to communicate. If you don't do these things off set or off stage then how are you expected to do them when you're working?

In any given situation where conflict is involved the problems can be resolved just by talking to the right person. There are a lot of egos in theatre. You must remember to be humble and as rational as possible, and understand that if you're feeling stressed or under pressure then the person you are working with is probably feeling that too. Each relationship we make functions differently, and has to be worked out as we get to know the person, so if both parties try to understand that then there's no reason why you can't resolve problems just by talking them through. Remember that you're all in the same boat.

If you can't work things out the normal way then maybe consider the amount of time you have left working with them, can you find a way to work around this problem by yourself, by changing attitude or the way you view the situation? Or do you need to take it further, to talk to a director or producer, in order to get the work done?

Depending on the problem your producer or director are the right people to contact when seeking outside help. It's their responsibility in the first instance to make sure that the production is safe and functioning well, and they have the authority to interfere if something is not going right, as well as the right contacts for all areas of the production.

If the problem is more personal is there someone impartial within the production that you can confide in for advice? If there's no one within the show then your agent or an old teacher or someone within the profession whom you trust might be the best person to talk to. People who don't work in the same industry tend not to understand certain rules and protocols of the trade, and it's often frustrating to try and explain when seeking advice.

Part of your agent's job is to look after you in this way, and you shouldn't have any hold backs about contacting them. Explain the situation and why it's effecting your work, express your concerns and perhaps anything you might have considered doing about it, and ask for advice on what should be done. If the problem is with the director or producer then your agent is probably the right person to talk to.

If the problem is more serious or none of the above appear to have helped it then the right people to contact will be Equity. If , for instance, you feel that your safety is being compromised in any way, or a situation was not dealt with properly, then this is what Equity is for. You can contact them for advice and, if needs be, they will intervene in the situation. Equity is the actors union and it is in place to ensure that you are treated fairly and kept safe whilst working, if in doubt they are the people to contact.