Opera author refused censorship of a character’s sexuality
|On 2 July 2011, author Lee Hall who had spent the past year working on an epic opera starring 300 schoolchildren, was told by email that his backers, a school and an opera house, have pulled out as the consequence of a bitter row over a character’s sexuality.
The author had been requested to remove the lines ‘I’m queer’ and ‘I prefer a lad to a lass’ and had repeatedly been asked to excise references to the adult character being gay. When he refused to do so, his play was deemed ‘inappropriate’ for schoolchildren, and the school withdrew its 300 participating pupils while the Opera North, a publicly funded theatre, told him they would no longer be able to maintain the project.
“The whole project has cost well over £100,000, and has involved 400 people and thousands of hours of writing, composing and rehearsing. That a play about tolerance, community and civic values could founder over this seems unbelievable,” wrote Lee Hall in the British newspaper The Guardian on 3 July 2011.
Rehearsals had been under way for six months, and the opera was due to premiere on 15 July 2011.
The Guardian – 3 July 2011:
‘Lee Hall: ‘I will fight this”
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