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‘Game Of Thrones’ Star Invites Black-Only Audience To Attend His Play

via Jimmy Fallon
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The play “Slave Play” starring Kit Harrington will hold two performances in London open only to black-identifying audience members, dubbed “Black Out nights.”

While intended to make the theater more accessible and inviting to black communities, the policy drew criticism over potential racial discrimination against non-black audiences.

“The prime minister is a big supporter of the arts and he believes that the arts should be inclusive and open to everyone, particularly where those arts venues are in receipt of public funding. Restricting audiences on the basis of race would be wrong and divisive,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office stated.

“I understand the subject matter of the show may have particular resonance for some but would simply question the legality of this? In other circles it would be illegal and racial discrimination. I don’t understand why this isn’t,” a member of Parliament said.

The “intent is to celebrate the play with the widest possible audience. We want to increase accessibility to theatre for everyone,” the producers stated.

“The Broadway production conceived of Black Out nights and we are carefully considering how to incorporate this endeavour as part of two performances in our 13-week run. We will release further details soon. To be absolutely clear, no-one will be prevented or precluded from attending any performance of Slave Play,” they added.

The playwright defended the initiative, arguing black people have long been told they don’t belong in theaters and such events are necessary to radically invite them into the space and make them feel safe among other black people.

The play itself examines tensions in interracial relationships through the lens of racially-charged sexual roleplaying therapy.

“One of the things we have to remember is that people have to be radically invited into a space to know that they belong there and in most places in the west, poor people and black people have been told that they do not belong inside the theatre… For me, as someone who wants and yearns for black and brown people to be in the theatre, who comes from a working class environment, who wants people who do not make six figures to feel like theatre is a place for them, it is a necessity to radically invite them in with initiatives that say ‘you’re invited.’ Specifically you,” playwright Jeremy O. Harris said.

“There are a litany of places in our country that are generally only inhabited by white people, and nobody is questioning that, and nobody is saying that by inviting black audiences here you are uninvited,” he said. “The idea of a Black Out night is to say this is a night that we are specifically inviting black people to fill up the space, to feel safe with a lot of other black people in a place where they often do not feel safe.”

Overall, the “Black Out nights” aim to increase accessibility and representation for black theatergoers but remain legally and ethically controversial in selectively restricting audiences by race.

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