London, Sep 4 (IANS) A controversial play about the radicalisation of young Muslims was cancelled by Britain’s National Youth Theatre (NYT) last month after its artistic director raised concerns about its creators’ “extremist agenda”, a media report said on Friday.
In an email, Paul Roseby, CEO and Artistic Director of the NYT, argued that the play titled “Homegrown”, due to be staged at a school in Swiss Cottage district with a 112-strong cast of 15-25-year-olds, had to be axed “to prevent any damage to NYT’s reputation and membership”, The Guardian reported.
“The creatives have failed to meet repeated requests for a complete chronological script to justify their extremist agenda and so it doesn’t look good for the future of Homegrown on NYT’s turf,” the email added.
The email was sent on July 30 but released on Thursday following a freedom of information request in the aftermath of a row about the decision to cancel the show, with the NYT accused of censorship by writers group, PEN.
The NYT had previously only said that Homegrown had been dropped for reasons of quality.
Homegrown, an immersive production designed to involve the audience, was set in a school aiming to dramatise how radicalisation comes about within schools. Its creators, writer Omar El-Khairy and director Nadia Latif, said the NYT was wrong to accuse them of extremism.
“It is clear there have been a lot of contradictions between what the NYT has said publicly and what they are are obviously discussing internally, and it is good to see that brought out into the open,” said Latif, adding “I do think there is some really troubling language, particularly the use of ‘extremist’ in this email.”
Homegrown was originally meant to be staged in a school in Bethnal Green, near to where the three schoolgirls who disappeared to Syria in February had lived, but it was moved.
El-Khairy said he and Latif were now in discussion to get Homegrown staged elsewhere.