Royal Shakespeare Company: Director saddened by racist reaction to cast

Royal Shakespeare Company director saddened by racist reaction to cast

1/20/2022 10:35:00 AM

Royal Shakespeare Company director saddened by racist reaction to cast

The Royal Shakespeare Company's new production of Much Ado About Nothing has two black lead actors.

Akiya Henry and Michael Balogun star as Beatrice and BenedickA theatre director said she was "saddened but not surprised" by racist reaction to her play's black cast.The Royal Shakespeare Company's new production of Much Ado About Nothing is set in an Afro-futuristic world.

Artistic director Erica Whyman said the "disgraceful" reaction came from "a minority" of people and discriminatory comments would not be tolerated."The idea that Shakespeare's plays belong to one group and not to another is nonsense," she said.

Read more: BBC News (UK) »

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If you do not want to be saddened, then just don't attack white heritage. Simple isn't it? Nothing says Black culture like *stealing* from another. adix67 Lol A romantic farce with no historical content, or context, whatsoever. Why should anybody care who plays what? Selection of an all black cast is pure racism, simple. Hopefully the play will fail miserably.

In a discussion about one of the worlds greatest wordsmiths...to completely confuse the definitions of “racism” and “bigotry” is just sad. It’s a comedy. Well a Shakespearean comedy. Love, wit and humor - that is universal stuff. It's been going on they shouldn't be surprised Cast a play on an actor's merit not on the colour of their skin, by casting an all black cast this director was looking to cause reaction and controversy, it really must stop, cast/hire people on their ability, not skin colour, religion or race, just ability. Stop the devision.

Stop complaining. Daniel is going to be acting as Shaka Zulu then you guys can be happy Virtue Signalling at it’s worst

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Casting black actors in roles just to acknowledge diversity is racist in and of itself surely? As a matter of interest to anyone, I personally have no issues with casting anyone in any role ….. they are all just people pretending anyway 🤷‍♂️ If they all auditioned for the roles, along with white actors, and were found to be the best. Then no problem. If it was a 'no whites need apply' then that is racism.

How very sad. Shakespeare is studied and performed around the world and yet some people don’t understand this production in his birthplace? It’s a celebration of the power of his global reach, telling stories and moving people of whatever race, creed or religion. It was bound to happen. Fill those seats and prove them wrong.

romano114 I bet the acting is nothing more than superb. .....if we want true representation....then based on these comments, 70% of the cast should be racist Neanderthals ..... I would definitely be interested in seeing this . How many of the people angered by the casting were going to watch this anyway? If you don't approve of something, don't watch it. It's that simple. Just quit whining.

So where are these comments? What’s the source? But let’s guess it’s twitter. Yawn yawn yawn. Because a handful of idiots post racist comments(this will never stop) on twitter, we’ve still got a problem. Yawn yawn yawn. Seems crazy in 2022, if it was all white people would have clearly said not alright so all black is somehow ok? Makes no sense

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We really need to get away from the skin colour obsession...both sides are bickering amongst themselves and are just as bad. All white,all black..doest matter when it's art. Didn't denzel just play macbeth? His performance was rated highly. Shakespeare did write his plays in medieval England, which was all white, its not as if he had a choice😂, as long as the directors remain truthful to the cultural history of his works, I don't see the issue here.

Don’t steal or try to rewrite our history create epic stories from African history, surely there are equivalent epics to be written and cast people of colour to relevant stories Cleopatra, Queen Ranavalona of Madagascar etc this is real history and there are many hidden from view What is the matter with some people? We are not going to allow the cancer of racism to infect this or any other cultural event. They can Foxtrot Oscar!

O.k., so let's talk about a white actor playing a high profile black character, Nelson Mandela ? Sound bizarre ?

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Image caption, Akiya Henry and Michael Balogun star as Beatrice and Benedick A theatre director said she was "saddened but not surprised" by racist reaction to her play's black cast. The Royal Shakespeare Company's new production of Much Ado About Nothing is set in an Afro-futuristic world. Artistic director Erica Whyman said the "disgraceful" reaction came from "a minority" of people and discriminatory comments would not be tolerated. "The idea that Shakespeare's plays belong to one group and not to another is nonsense," she said. The Stratford-upon-Avon theatre announced the cast of its new production, directed by Roy Alexander Weise, in December. Michael Balogun and Akiya Henry play lead roles Benedick and Beatrice. Image source, Image caption, The production runs from 4 February to 12 March While Ms Whyman said the theatre had "a proud record of lots of representation", she said the theatre company had questioned: "Have we often enough made sure that black artists can lead the work?" In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, she said the company felt it "incredibly important... to look at ourselves and ask why there is so much racism in the world". "It's a responsibility for a cultural organisation like mine to make sure we're not just representing black culture on our stage but actually trying to to properly understand what has been missing from our cultural world," she said.