Archive for May 21st, 2005

Theatres unite against intolerance

Yesterday’s Independent has an interesting article on how intolerance and religious zealotry is “stifling the stage”.

Speaking in the wake of the violent protests that closed the play Bezhti at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre last year, managers across the country yesterday reported increasing problems in presenting controversial work.

The problem started when the Birmingham Rep consulted with local Sikhs, giving them the mistaken impression that they might influence the content of Behzti. Intriguingly, the Rep’s director mentions a local party-political influence in the affair.

Mr Church’s executive director, Stuart Rogers [of the Birmingham Rep], said what had become clear during the controversy was there were some people who had no concept of theatre, no understanding of the concept of fiction and who were naturally against freedom of speech. “There is a section of society who don’t want a dialogue,” Mr Rogers said.

It was the Behztiriots which sparked the whole anti- Jerry Springer: The Opera fiasco, and the infamous monkey-see-monkey-do “The Sikhs have made a stand – but will Christians?” email circular.

Tipped from Gagwatch.