Index on Censorship welcomes the latest statement from the National Youth Theatre (NYT) clarifying why it cancelled the production of Homegrown, a play which explored Islamic radicalisation among young people in the United Kingdom.
• Cancellation of Homegrown shows that more support needed for tackling controversial work
• Statement by the creative team behind Homegrown
• Statement by some of the cast members of Homegrown
• Statement by Paul Roseby of the National Youth Theatre
The production was two weeks into rehearsals when the cancellation was announced. The show, which had been in development for six months, was the product of workshops with British young people aged between 16 and 25. The production team and some of the cast released separate statements in response to the latest comments from the National Theatre.
Index remains deeply concerned that an arts project exploring an important subject, which young people of all ethnicities need to be able to discuss and debate, was closed down.
“We are worried that, without even a line of legislation being debated, the government has created an atmosphere whereby arts organisations are increasingly nervous of putting on any play that touches controversial subjects, and specifically the question of Islamic extremism,” said Index on Censorship chief executive Jodie Ginsberg.
“We recognise that arts organisations have a duty to protect staff and audiences, but worry that a fear of offence is preventing them from fulfilling their duties to protect free expression. Arts groups need more support from the authorities – such as local police and councils – to ensure controversial work can be staged.”
Art and the Law: Guides to the legal framework and its impact on artistic freedom of expression
Obscene Publications (available autumn 2015)
Art and the Law main page for access to the guides, case studies and resources.