June 8: Theatre’s latest “cancellation”

Mark ShentonInclude in homepage slide?, Thought of the day2 Comments

There seems to be no limit — or sense of perspective — to Twitter’s calls for summary judgement and execution



It was brought to my attention that my argument was flawed in defending a performer whose 10-year-old impression of another performer had come to light.

I had understood this performance as being a tribute of impersonation, one performer to another, at a charity event. In fact, it has been received as offensive to that performer and other people of colour. I now understand this perspective, and realise that it is not for me, as a white person of privilege, to seek to adjudicate what is and isn’t offensive to others.

I would like to thank Trevor Dion Nicholas and Cedric Neal for drawing attention to my error, and also other performers who reached out to me publicly or responded to Trevor and Cedric, with their concerns.

I will seek to use this as a learning opportunity, to realise that actions have consequences and what I saw as a tribute was nothing of the sort. I have always sought to promote diversity in the theatre and in my teaching, and I’m very sorry if on this occasion I failed to do so by not accepting the point of view of the people directly affected.

Mark Shenton

Friday June 11, 2021