Asking Opera North to stand against homophobia, and bring Lee Hall's "Beached" back to Bridlington
  • Petitioned Sir Gordon Linacre

This petition was delivered to:

President, Opera North
Sir Gordon Linacre
Patron of Opera North
HRH The Duke Of Kent
Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Opera North
Derek Netherton
Press & PR Manager, Opera North
Lindsey Porter
Headmistress, Bay Primary School
Emma Hobbs

Asking Opera North to stand against homophobia, and bring Lee Hall's "Beached" back to Bridlington

    1. Gemma Hentsch
    2. Petition by

      Gemma Hentsch

      Brighton, United Kingdom

    You’d think that being the creator of Billy Elliot, one of the most successful musicals of the last 20 years would guarantee you some artist freedom, but Lee Hall had his latest project cancelled over a character being open about being gay. The community Opera, called “Beached” featured a huge cast that included 300 pupils from a local primary school. However production was halted when both Bay Primary School and the Local Area Authority demanded that Hall remove any lines that referenced the character’s sexuality. Hall went out of his way to try to fix the problem and even offered to pay for Stonewall’s education team out of his own pocket. His efforts were rebuffed, and the school cancelled its participation a matter of a couple of weeks before opening night, ending the production. We would love for the headmistress, Emma Hobbs and the Local Area Authority to reconsider. If they were to help put on a new production of “Beached” free from the homophobic censorship they tried to force in, we’d be very happy. However we recognize that the problems with the school are far more ingrained and serious than this symptom and cannot be cured by a single action. The critical issue here is that a supposedly tolerant and progressive theatrical group not only refuses to stand up for tolerance, but goes out of its way to defend the homophobic institution and puts the blame on the writer for daring to disagree. Through their statementsresponses and press releases, it is clear, that they feel as though they are blameless, and continue to put all the blame at Lee Hall’s feet. We would like Opera North to put together a new production at their own expense with a cast including 300 children from local schools and community groups, to give the people of Bridlington the opportunity to see this wonderful opera, and to pledge that in future they will not be apologists for homophobia. Please keep an eye on No More Lost for updates on this story and other issues important to the LGBTQIAPPQIA community. Sources: BBC and Guardian  Photo credit: Guardian    

Recent signatures


    1. I'm trying to find confirmation, but we might have won...

      Gemma Hentsch
      Petition Organizer

      It looks like the school itself has backed down and agreed to put back on the show.

      Thank you for all your support and signatures and I'll post as soon as I have confirmation.

    2. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

      • over 3 years ago

      What is wrong with being gay?! Honestly, homophobes need to get over themselves and stop being so judgmental.

    • tessa verso LEAMINGTON SPA, UT
      • over 3 years ago

      Thanks for starting this. IT WILL TAKE PLACE!

      • over 3 years ago

      After working so hard on this opera i think it is utterly ridiculous to pull it at the final stages, For what?? saying those two little lines!!! stupidity i reckon.

      • over 3 years ago

      *the scene in question did not actually involve any of the children.

      *no intercourse or sexual assault takes place.

      *the most explicit references are “I prefer a lad to a lass” and “I’m queer” — if such statements are unacceptably innuendous, then, by the same logic (that is, assuming that the school’s management are truthful when saying that they are not homophobic), just about any mention of any interaction with any other person/people is surely taboo.

    • Luke Watson YORK, UNITED KINGDOM
      • over 3 years ago

      I have worked with Opera North in the past as a student in the North East performances: Noel's Ark at Arc in Stockton and Blaze at Darlington Railway Museum. It was a wonderful experience and everyone of the staff that I worked with there seemed like pleasant and open minded people. I have not had access to the libretto so I cannot really comment on the content, however I feel like you are missing an opportunity to push for education about homosexuality. It's not something that children need to be shielded from if it is not explicitly sexual.


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