Thursday, December 13, 2018

Cyrano's Theatre Co. in Anchorage AK set to fire RC after Internet trolls stir up controversy

It is a shame to see anyone give a second chance to someone but then buckle to social media backlash. Social media is a mental illness.

Cyrano's Theatre Co. will drop an actor who is a registered sex offender after social media backlash

By Rebecca Palsha | Posted: Tue 3:52 PM, Dec 11, 2018  |  Updated: Tue 4:48 PM, Dec 11, 2018
ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A registered sex offender who performs with Cyrano's Theatre Co. will no longer be acting with the company.

Jenson Seifert lists Cyrano's as his employer on the state's sex offender registry.

He is a former teacher at Birchwood Christian School who was charged, and later served time, for sexually abusing a minor.

At the time, police accused him of molesting a 14-year-old boy repeatedly, including while he was a chaperoning a youth outing.

Cyrano's says Seifert has been a performer with the company for about a year and that it was encouraged to work with him after he successfully performed at other places in Anchorage.

"He was doing all that was asked of him, which does not negate or condone his crime in any way, and we were very clear in our communications with him, and he also with us, but he has made all of the steps to work toward rehabilitation and second chances," Teresa Pond, the Producing Artistic Director at Cyrano's said. "And we felt that warranted an opportunity, again based on the fact that he had already had success working in theaters and being successful, with a second chance."

But on the theatre's Facebook page a debate ignited about how transparent Cyrano's was and if Seifert should be able to perform with the company.

Alaska Theater of Youth, which had a pop-up camp last week at Cyrano's, says it was unaware of his involvement. ATY says it was assured that Seifert had no contact with any of the children at the camp.

"That was my main concern. The children's safety, was my first priority," Hanna Bankston with ATY said.

Tuesday afternoon, Cyrano's updated its Facebook page and said registered sex offenders will be prevented from working at Cyrano's in any capacity.

"We know the community would prefer that we don't have someone who is on the sexual offender registry in our shows, and that is absolutely fine," Pond said. "We support all of those people those who have been victims, anybody who has found this to be difficult and upsetting, and that's far more important to us."

Seifert is in a production with Cryano's that will run two more weeks. Pond said he will continue in those plays but they will be his final performances.

If you want to post your disapproval of the Theater's decision, the link is here:

Thank you to the many community members who have reached out to engage with us in direct dialogue over the past few days. The voices we have heard from our community of artists makes it clear that a change going forward is warranted.

We remain committed to our mission, which includes ensuring that we provide a safe and trusting place for our community to create and experience art. We neglected to communicate clearly to some members of our Cyrano’s community and their families, that an individual, previously convicted of a sex offense, was serving as an actor in a Cyrano’s production. Of the voices we heard during this process, some had concerns for the safety of their families, and the ability of Cyrano’s to maintain that safe and trusting environment. We are deeply sorry.

After a thorough review, we have identified a need for change. For future productions, the Board has implemented a policy which will prevent anyone listed on Alaska’s sex offender registry from working at Cyrano’s in any capacity. This is not the end of our work on this matter, and we will continue to engage in dialogue on the best ways to forward our mission and serve the community we all love.

Cyrano’s Theatre Company

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