Behzti started it all

Neal Foster, manager of the Birmingham Stage Company has spoken to The Stage about the need for the theatre industry to stand up against the forces of censorship.

He suggests the violent-but-successful Sikh protest against Behzti at Birmingham’s Repertory Theatre was the inspiration for later protests against the broadcast of JS:TO.

The Rep made a terrible mistake when it cancelled that show. The whole Jerry Springer debacle – I felt it was a direct ramification of the events in Birmingham and hardline groups feeling they could affect the decisions of arts organisations. I can’t believe that the protests around Jerry Springer – the Opera would have happened before Behzti.

Official organisations need to be involved to help theatres make the right decision. The staging of Behzti is the first thing that needs to happen – we lost the battle and we are now suffering the effects. The artistic community put up its white flag – now we need to support whatever organisations are suffering the consequences.

Foster was quick to step in and offer to stage Behzti at his theatre after the Rep cancelled the production, but had to withdraw after a plea from the author, Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, who feared for her life.

Comments are closed.