Opera North community project back on

Primary School back on board after change to libretto

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A community opera by Harvey Brough and Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall is now to go ahead as planned.

Earlier in the week, the project had been cancelled when a primary school – whose pupils made up 300 of the 400-strong cast – pulled out, over a reference to a character’s sexuality. Now it has been announced that the project is going ahead, after Hall agreed to modify the libretto and replace the word 'queer' with 'gay'.

A statement on the company’s website reads: ‘We are delighted that we can now move forward to perform the piece next week; participants from Bay Primary School and the community groups established as part of the residency have been working and rehearsing very hard and are extremely enthusiastic about the project…

‘At its core, Beached is not simply about sexuality, it is much more about the life and community of Bridlington.’

Hall, the opera's Librettist, had brought the cancellation to the media’s attention by writing an article in the Guardian. The story was also covered by the BBC and the general director of Opera North, Richard Mantle, was forced to deny accusations of homophobia.

Beached will be on at the Royal Hall, Bridlington on 16 July.

Elizabeth Davis

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