Billy Elliot Creator Lee Hall Defends His Latest Work Against Censorship

Lee Hall

Who would have thought, in this day and age, that censorship was still an issue? But it is. Just ask Lee Hall, creator of Billy Elliot.

He turned up on BBC’s Breakfast defending his latest work from the censors and their red pencils. It seems education bosses forced the cancellation of his opera Beached by withdrawing from the project.

The opera, part of a community project in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, used a word they would prefer to see banned. The word? Queer. It was not used offensively, as far as I can tell, but it was used. And, in the modern equivalent of book-burning, bosses said it was not the kind of word they wanted four to 11 year-olds exposed to. They tried to get the word changed but Lee refused. The lyrics included the line: “Of course I’m queer/ That’s why I left here / So if you infer / That I prefer / A lad to a lass / And I’m working class / I’d have to concur.”

Is it all a storm in a tea cup? Lee said the decision by the school to pull out of the project was discrimination against the gay community.

It raised questions, he said, of censorship and the right of creators to say what they wanted.

Queer is a word sometimes used – with a sense of pride – by the gay community.

Lee was right not to change his work – about bringing all sections of the community together – to pander to the sensibilities of the pc brigade.

Meanwhile Opera North, behind the project, seemed to sit on the fence and expose themselves to the possibility of splinters in the bum.

They said they appreciated the viewpoint of the school but also appreciated the viewpoint of the author.

Wow. That’s telling them, or not. They do know that the opera had a message of tolerance and inclusiveness, don’t they?

Sourced from Sunday Sun Blog
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One comment on “Billy Elliot Creator Lee Hall Defends His Latest Work Against Censorship
  1. Kitsana says:

    To be the one of the people that is up to date with all the Broadway leatst, you have to live in NYC. Or in your case, have a parent that would be a stage mother and constantly having you travel to find auditions. You hear about people all the time who move out as a teenager to start a career on Broadway, no matter how hard the consequences. Liza Minnelli (The daughter of Judy Garland who played Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz) Moved to NYC when she was 16 and was not successful her first year living there. She at one point got thrown out of her apartment, Frank Sinatra offered her $500 and she refused it. She ended up sleeping on a bench in Central Park over night. She didn’t want to take any money from her family, and at the same time didn’t run back to her family for a place to live. She wanted to be on Broadway so much that getting thrown out of her apartment was not close to being able to stop her from pursuing Broadway. She then the next year ended up in the Off-Broadway revival of the musical, Best Foot Forward. She broke her foot in a rehearsal actually and spent her 17th birthday in the hospital. Once again that didn’t make her run back home, she still stayed in NYC. And the cast album for the off-Broadway revival of Best Foot Forward sold half a million copies. Then after Best Foot Forward she got casted in a original new Broadway musical in 1965 called Flora The Red Menace and landed in the main track (role). So as you can see for Liza, it was a struggle but she made it. So if you really want to get on Broadway, or even have a chance you really have to move to NYC, or be there often. And at the same time, unless you can know facts like I just told you about Liza, you will get pretty much laughed at.To learn the basics of Broadway, I recommend the Seth Rudetsky book: The Q Guide To Broadway . It tells you how to talk the talk, Walk the walk, and know the facts you need to know. And as far as Billy Elliot, that isn’t a bad idea. On Broadway, every person is cast for a period of six months, and then after a person’s six months in a play are done, they are taken over by someone else. The original Billys’s six months I’m sure are almost done. So this would be the best time to audition for Billy.

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