Canadian University Cancels 'Othello' Over Casting Furor

November 7, 2016

A student theater group at Queen's University, in Canada, has called off a production of Othello amid backlash over the decision to cast a white woman as the lead, a role more typically portrayed by a black man.

A statement posted on the theater group's Facebook page said in part, "Theater is about taking risks, and we tried to take one. The result of this was a problematic decision that caused people within this community to feel oppressed, and for that we are greatly sorry. It was never our intention to have people of color feel as though their identities were being invalidated, and in doing so, we acknowledge that it was not okay. We have spoken personally with some people who have come forward and are more than willing to [speak] with anyone else to express our sympathetic apologies. Theater is a form of art, but it becomes unacceptable when artistic decisions are oppressive."

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