Sydney Theatre Company cancels performance after coming under fire for actors’ protest

Sydney Theatre Company cancels performance after coming under fire for actors’ protest
Image: Harry Greenwood (R) along with co-stars Mabel Li (L) and Megan Wilding (2nd R) during the encore at the opening night of the STC production of The Seagull. Picture: Instagram



The Sydney Theatre Company (STC) cancelled at the last minute a performance on Wednesday night following the company coming under fire after three actors emerged wearing Palestinian keffiyehs during the encore of The Seagull on Saturday night.

Actors Harry Greenwood (son of Hollywood actor Hugo Weaving), Mabel Li and Megan Wilding emerged on stage to take their bows wearing the traditional scarves.

STC hastily apologised for “any distress caused” to the audience, but the actors’ protest has since caused uproar among some STC subscribers and donors.

Daniel Grynberg, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, wrote that he would boycott the company until it showed a “serious response” to the “triggering” sight of the keffiyehs.

Longtime member of STC’s foundation board Judi Hausmann resigned following the actors’ action.

However, many have expressed their discontent with the company’s response to the show of support and for not backing their actors.

Elaine Crombie, who starred in the ABC’s Black Comedy and Top End Wedding, wrote on Instagram that she was “extremely perplexed” at the company’s response.

“I’m not here for this, Sydney Theatre Company, not at all,” she said.

Catherine Văn-Davies, who starred in The Twelve, also posted on Instagram saying the keffiyeh was a symbol of “hope not of hate”.

STC released a statement yesterday saying, “We understand the actions at the curtain call and our immediate response has hurt many in our community. For this, we are deeply sorry.”

“We support individual freedom of expression but believe that the right to free speech does not supersede our responsibility to create safe workplaces and theatres,” the statement continues.
“Theatre is a place for exploring ideas with complexity and context. We recognise that artists bring their whole selves to our stages and in doing so, they bring a rich diversity of views and lived experience.”
“We also recognise that when our audiences attend a production, they come to experience the content in that play and that play only, and that any exception to this needs to be done in consultation with the Company and consideration of our duty of care.”





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