March 30, 2010

Banned, play that challenged the BNP

Dudley council accused of caving in to far right after pulling plug on 'Moonfleece'

A critically acclaimed play about the British National Party and homophobia which has toured the most racially sensitive areas of the country in an effort to "start a conversation about the far right" has been barred from a stage in Dudley for fear of community disapproval.

The play's production team yesterday expressed their dismay at the decision to pull Moonfleece from the Mill Theatre in Dudley's Dormston Centre, and claimed the move was tantamount to appeasing right-wing and BNP sympathisers. The play – the latest offering from the controversial Philip Ridley – was scheduled to be staged in the West Midlands on Thursday, two days before a rally by the far-right group the English Defence League is due to take place in the same town.

Last week, the producer, Will Young, received a message from the theatre informing him that, after lengthy discussions, it had decided not to stage the play for fear of offending the local community. Yesterday, Dudley council said: "The booking was cancelled as the school (in which the theatre is based) did not feel some of the issues raised within the play were suitable for a school and community setting."

Ridley told The Independent that he was outraged by the "hypocrisy" of the decision and said he was "heart-broken" that the play would not be staged in an area where its racial issues were relevant. This month the play opened in east London near Barking and Dagenham, which polled 19.4 per cent in favour of the BNP in last year's European elections.

Young said they had deliberately planned a tour that took in areas where the BNP was popular – Bradford, Leicester, Birmingham, Doncaster and Dudley – before returning to London in April for stints at the Riverside Studios and Greenwich Theatre. Some residents in Dudley recently began a protest aimed at the building of a mosque, which was finally refused planning permission.

"It's about homophobia and racism and he [Ridley] didn't want it to play in a theatre made up of your usual theatre-goers, who are relatively removed from the issues to which the play relates. So we went looking for areas with people who are not big theatre audiences," added Young. He said he had been told by the theatre that the area had very strong support for the BNP and there was concern about complaints from this faction.

Moonfleece centres on a young, right-wing activist who is forced to reassess his beliefs as the brutality of the new-look BNP is exposed, and has a multi-cultural cast including Sean Verey and Krupa Pattani. David Mercatali, the play's director, said he was "extremely disappointed" by the decision, especially as the play had sparked interesting reactions in the areas it had already shown, which include Bradford and Birmingham's Aston area.



rd said...

A terrorist organisation in America was planning to go on a terror shooting spree: -

Only these were Christian NOT Muslim militants. You can bet your bottom dollar the story will not be covered by the EDL website as Chris Renton likes to pretend all religious extremists must be Muslim.

wren said...

It looks like the EDL have some powerful friends who can decide what can and cannot be shown.

So much for the fucking liars at the EDL and the BNP who claim to oppose censorship, but want to impose Nazi-like censorship over what can and what cannot be shown.

George Orwell would have a lot to say about Dudley's theatre, if he had still been alive.

Anonymous said...

The play ought to be performed at Stoke instead, if they are banned from Dudley by the local censors.

NewsHound said...


Wishy Washy Liberal said...

Free speech?? Political incorrectness??? Not when it goes against them, heh??

Sheff Man said...

We will be waiting for the EDL to come to Sheffield to rightly send them packing with their neo-Nazi tails between their legs!

Anonymous said...

OH do bring the play to Barking & Dagenham, anything to get up the nose of Dicky and Little Bob