Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Newham Comment on stopping Act Up performance

Newham Council have published the following on their website:


"The event on Wednesday is an annual Christmas celebration for older residents in Newham. Act Up Theatre were asked to provide details of their proposed performance but this was not forthcoming. We do not consider political satire or potentially distressing material to be in keeping with the theme or tone of this event. Officers have therefore decided to cancel this element of what will be a festive and light hearted event. We have worked well in the past with Act Up Theatre and would hope to do so again."

We can understand that if this event is a jolly Christmas sing-song, Atos Stories might not have been quite right for it. However, it was Newham who invited Act Up, Newham who knew a month ago the play was about the difficulties disabled people face. Why then, did they decide at the last minute to cancel the performance? And isn't it just a tad patronising to think that a group of over 50's, many of whom may have have experience of Atos, wouldn't want to watch a political satire on the subject? Have Newham Council not noticed the satire in that most loved Christmas story - A Christmas Carol?

Newham Council conclude that they are willing to work with Act Up in future. If this is all a misunderstanding, as they seem to be implying, they can resolve the matter simply. All they need to do to show their support to Act Up, and the disabled people of Newham, is to invite the group to perform the play in the New Year. 

It would make their Christmas.

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