The National Coalition Against Censorship is thrilled to learn that the student-written production Evolution, which deals with LGBT themes, will go on as originally planned this week at Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora, Colorado. The decision came after students spoke out in opposition to school officials’ intention to censor the play.
NCAC congratulates the Cherokee Trail students for advocating for themselves and their right to free expression. There are many cases of theater censorship in schools nationwide, often around LGBT references. Unfortunately, the outcome is not always positive, which is why NCAC is extremely gratified that the administration chose to do the right thing by respecting its students’ free expression rights. This is a win for all sides.
The story: On April 15, advanced theater students at Cherokee were told that their student-written production, Evolution, would not go on as planned because of “uncomfortable” material related to LGBT content. Reportedly, an administrator did not believe the community was ready for such topics. The April 24th premiere was canceled. So the students spoke out in protest: They created a Facebook page, contacted local media, and reached out to NCAC and others for guidance.
Soon after, the school claimed a misunderstanding and rescheduled the production for May 9. The delay was needed ostensibly to prepare the audience for potentially sensitive topics. After further discussions with the students, the administration reconsidered and agreed to allow the premiere to go on, uncut and uncensored, as scheduled on April 24.
NCAC’s theater censorship toolkit, “The Show Must Go On,” advises students to organize on Facebook and Twitter, mobilize other students and alert the local press. The students in Aurora did all of these things–and their clear, concise messages helped shape the story and affect the outcome.