Theater & Performance

Between Boycotts and Special Interest Campaigns: the Chilling of Speech on Israel and Palestine

By |2024-04-11T14:50:31-04:00February 5th, 2018|Blog|

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.

The State of the First Amendment: 2017’s Top Free Speech Offenders and Defenders

By |2022-10-03T16:26:33-04:00December 20th, 2017|Blog|

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

By |2019-06-12T16:49:50-04:00November 8th, 2017|Blog|

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 Releases Statement in Support of Lincoln Center’s Decision to Host ‘To the End of the Land’ Despite Calls to Cancel the Play

By |2017-07-07T11:51:10-04:00July 7th, 2017|Blog, Press Releases|

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.

NCAC & Dramatists Legal Defense Fund Demand Minnesota City Officials Apologize for Cancelling Play With Word ‘Mulatto’ in Title

By |2017-05-05T13:50:55-04:00May 5th, 2017|Press Releases|

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.

Minnesota Performing Arts Center Censors Play Over Word ‘Mulatto’ in Title; UPDATE: NCAC and DLDF Send Letter to Mayor Kautz

By |2020-01-03T15:44:56-05:00April 10th, 2017|Blog|

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 Top 40 Free Speech Defenders of 2014

By |2020-08-19T12:00:30-04:00October 23rd, 2014|Blog|

"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. [...]

Curtain Comes Down on “Almost Maine” in North Carolina

By |2019-03-07T22:46:28-05:00October 22nd, 2014|Incidents|

(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 [...]

Bravos Drown Out Hecklers at “Death of Klinghoffer” Opening

By |2020-01-03T14:47:51-05:00October 22nd, 2014|Incidents|

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 [...]

Student Production of “Almost, Maine” Cancelled because of Same-Sex Storyline

By |2020-01-03T14:53:18-05:00October 16th, 2014|Blog|

(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 [...]

Banned Broadway Gets the TADA! Treatment: Watch the Video

By |2020-01-03T14:55:54-05:00October 3rd, 2014|Blog|

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 [...]

NCAC Writes Follow-up Letter in Response to Fired Drama Director

By |2020-01-03T14:52:03-05:00September 22nd, 2014|Incidents|

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, [...]

PA High School Cancels “Spamalot” Over Homosexual Themes

By |2020-01-03T14:52:03-05:00September 19th, 2014|Incidents|

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 [...]

Pennsylvania High School Cancels Spamalot because of “Homosexual Themes”

By |2020-01-03T14:51:58-05:00September 17th, 2014|Blog|

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 [...]

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