Shorewood High School canceled the production hours before it was scheduled to debut, to the dismay of both supporters and planned protesters.
Any art institution that displays art about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict - or even art that is created by Israeli or Palestinian artists - needs to carefully navigate a space between intense pressures coming from right-wing pro-Israel groups and calls for boycott from supporters of the cultural BDS movement.
During a year of marked ideological divisions, the right to free expression has been challenged by everyone from the alt-right to the far left. Our core values have been attacked by activists across the political spectrum. In this tumultuous year, we commend the allies who refuse to be silenced and continue to defend the right to free speech and its value to our society.
Life Imitates Art: By Cancelling Play in Response to Controversy, Brandeis Compromises Freedom of Academic Discussion
Brandeis University has had to cancel a scheduled production of a play by Michael Weller after the playwright and the Theater Department failed to come to terms as to how the play would be presented.
NCAC Criticizes American Jewish Historical Society’s Decision to Cancel Events Following Pressure Campaign
The AJHS has sent a chilling and un-democratic message that art and voices that dissent from pro-Israel orthodoxy are not to be tolerated.
The brief argues that freedom of speech includes the ability to facilitate the free international exchange of people and ideas.
NCAC Criticizes Effort to Use NY ‘anti-BDS’ Law to Cancel Roger Waters Concerts; Update: Nassau Coliseum Stands by Waters’ Shows
Howard J. Kopel’s interpretation of the Nassau anti-BDS legislation seeks to punish an individual purely for expressing First Amendment-protected views.
NCAC Releases Statement in Support of Lincoln Center’s Decision to Host ‘To the End of the Land’ Despite Calls to Cancel the Play
Were institutions like Lincoln Center to yield to calls for cancellation coming from the BDS movement or elsewhere, any ensuing conversation would be much impoverished and further polarized.
DLDF Statement on the Withdrawal of Support from the Public Theater’s ‘Trump-like’ Production of Julius Caesar
"The fact is that, for hundreds of years, this particular play has been understood to be a critique of political violence, not an endorsement of it."
NCAC argues that keeping children from viewing artistic representations of nudes does not ‘protect’ them; rather, it imposes the religion-based view that the nude human body is shameful.
NCAC & Dramatists Legal Defense Fund Demand Minnesota City Officials Apologize for Cancelling Play With Word ‘Mulatto’ in Title
The letter demands a public apology from the City of Burnsville and urges the City to develop a formal policy governing artistic programming at the Ames Center to ensure it is in compliance with First Amendment requirements.
The groups maintain that although the school should and must aim to create a positive learning environment free from racism and hostility, the decision to cancel the play fails to further this objective
Minnesota Performing Arts Center Censors Play Over Word ‘Mulatto’ in Title; UPDATE: NCAC and DLDF Send Letter to Mayor Kautz
The play offers a perspective on the experience of growing up biracial -- or "mulatto," a dated term used to describe a person with one black and one white parent.
The decision to cancel the play was understandable, given the controversy around the photo, but was it the best decision that could have been made?
A California university nixed a performance of a comedy intended to diminish the potency of racial slurs on the grounds “the performance wasn't achieving the goal of constructing a dialogue about racial relations.”
A local businessman wants a Florida city council to bar performances in a publicly-owned theater that he deems inappropriate.
After complaints, a Florida Jewish community center cancels performances of a play about the Israel-Palestine conflict.
After a censorship controversy over 'American Idiot' grabbed headlines, NCAC and other free speech groups offer advice on how the school can turn this into a learning experience, and protect students' artistic freedom going forward.
Complaints from a few parents have apparently canceled a Connecticut high school's performance of 'American Idiot.'
A play about penguins was a hit at an anti-censorship conference. Days later, it was canceled at a nearby school.
A group of international artistic freedom groups send a letter to the Cuban government requesting that authorities drop all charges against free speech performance artist Tania Bruguera.
NCAC congratulates the students of Cherokee Trail High for speaking up and speaking out against censorship, and is gratified that the administration chose to do the right thing by respecting its students' free expression rights.
A group of Florida students were set to perform at the Florida State Thespian Festival in Tampa. They did-- but outside the venue.
In late October, NCAC mobilized its partner organizations to pressure school officials in North Carolina's Maiden High School to reinstate a cancelled production of Almost, Maine. Now, the students will be staging a production of the play at an alternate venue.
"Complacency is ever the enabler of darkest deeds." Robert Fanney recognized, as we do at NCAC, that silence and apathy lead to repression and censorship. In our 40th anniversary year, we celebrate the artists, authors, students, educators, librarians, lawmakers, celebs du jour, and yes, even corporations, who refused to remain silent on the top threats to free speech in 2014. [...]
(UPDATE: Good news! The students organized and managed to stage their performance at a local playhouse, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign.) NCAC and other organizations committed to artistic and intellectual freedom sent the below letter to Maiden High School in response to the cancellation of the scheduled January production of John Cariani's Almost, Maine due to concerns about the play's content. Although [...]
The audience coming to see John Adams' Death of Klinghoffer on Monday, October 20th, had to pass through a cordon of angry protesters crying "shame" and holding placards condemning the Metropolitan Opera of rather far fetched things like "taking terrorist $$$" or "glorifying terrorism." They must not have succeeded in shaming anyone as the house was full. The few hecklers in the [...]
(UPDATE: The students organized and managed to stage their performance at a local playhouse, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign.) A mere week after the legalization of gay marriage in North Carolina, a school in Maiden has decided to cancel a scheduled January production of Almost, Maine over, yes, the presence of a same-sex couple in the play's storyline. In a case [...]
The TADA! Youth Theatre Ensemble brought down the house with two exclusive performances of The Banned Broadway Project during the closing weekend of Banned Books Week. In collaboration with NCAC, the TADA! teens explored controversial themes found in censored plays and musicals and selected scenes from their favorites to prepare for the big night, including Pippin, Rent, and The Laramie [...]
Last Friday, NCAC and a number of other organizations devoted to free speech considerations in education, drama, and literature sent a letter to the South Williamsport Area School District calling on them to reverse their cancellation of Monty Python's Spamalot, which had been called off due to "homosexual themes." As we sent out the letter, we learned that Dawn Burch, [...]
UPDATE: We've just heard that, in apparent retaliation for speaking about the cancellation of the play, drama teacher Dawn Burch, has been just fired. Stay tuned for action alert and letter to the school board. In a letter sent to the South Williamsport Area School District today, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), the American Booksellers Foundation For Free Expression, the [...]
A production of Spamalot planned for 2015 has recently been cancelled by the South Williamsport High School in Pennsylvania. Why? Made public in August as the result of Right-to-Know requests, internal emails sent by the school principal, Jesse Smith, clearly demonstrate that the homosexual themes of the play prompted the cancellation. The principal suggested in the communications that the show [...]
Tomorrow is opening night for Trumbull High School students and for a performance of the musical Rent that almost wasn't.
NCAC participating organizations the Dramatists Guild and the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund have sent a letter (PDF embed below) to Theater J in Washington DC in support of the venue's staging of Motti Lerner's The Admission. A group called Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art has waged a smear campaign to vilify the play as anti-Israel. The reason we dramatists feel so strongly about this [...]