Sydney Theatre Production Suspended Because Lead Actor Isn't Transgender
A theatre production scheduled for next year's Sydney Festival has been abruptly suspended due to casting issues.
Cis-gendered actor Hugh Sheridan had been cast in the lead role for Hedwig and the Angry Inch, however that decision came under heavy fire from LGBTQIA+ activists.
The lead character is trans and members from the Queer Artist Alliance said it was 'offensive' for Sheridan to play a trans character when he isn't trans.
Sheridan was all set to play Hedwig, who reveals during the musical that she had a botched male to female surgery to flee socialist Germany in the 1990s.
The actor, who recently came out as bisexual, was due to star alongside Casey Donovan, who had been cast as Ytzhak, a drag king performer who is married to Hedwig.
However, the Queer Artist Alliance released a statement following the news of the casting.
The Alliance wrote: "The choice to cast a cis-gender male as a transgender character is offensive and damaging to the trans-community, and continues to cause genuine stress and frustration among trans- and gender- nonconforming performers all across Australia.
"It is unquestionable Hugh is a talented and deserving actor...it is not appropriate for a cis actor to be the gatekeeper of a trans story."
More Like ThisMore Like This
Cis-gendered is the term for people who identify with the sex they were born in.
In response, the production team revealed they had made the difficult decision to suspend the musical for the entire Sydney Festival season.
The statement said: "In casting HEDWIG we auditioned a wide, diverse range of performers and no one from any background was excluded from this process, and were encouraged.
"We wish to assure the Trans and LGBTQIA+ community that the issues raised are respected and taken very seriously. We appreciate your patience in giving us time to properly consider these concerns and respond accordingly.
"Please note that comments or actions of any individual, including by way of any personal social media account, should not be taken as the views of the producer, or as endorsed by the producer. We do not believe in censoring legitimate conversation and will not condone silencing."
Sydney Festival has supported the production company in suspending the show until it can iron out its issues.
"Sydney Festival is an important platform, and we have a responsibility to use this platform in a way that is beneficial to all members of our community," the statement said.
People who had bought tickets to the production are being contacted and all information related to casting and new dates will be released in due course.
Featured Image Credit: Showtune Productions
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read