One of the most anticipated London theatre productions of the summer has been cancelled under murky circumstances.
The National Youth Theatre’s ‘Homegrown’ was an ambitious piece of immersive theatre that sought to explore the radicalisation of the three Bethnal Green schoolgirls who went off to join Isis earlier this year. With a cast of 112 young people, it sought to take you into the girls’ school lives prior to and during their radicalisation, with the school recreated at the UCL Academy in Swiss Cottage (after the original venue, an actual school, had got cold feet after discovering the subject matter). Now the National Youth Theatre has pulled the whole show, just over a week before it was meant to open, putting out a statement that: ‘we have come to the conclusion that we cannot be sufficiently sure of meeting all of our aims to the standards we set’.
In an interview with The Guardian, however, the show’s director and writer Nadia Latif and playwright Omar El-Khairy have expressed surprise at this, and suggested that ‘some extraordinary external pressure’ was responsible for the sudden cancellation, going on to say that the police had been heavily interested in ‘Homegrown’ from the off, with the suggestion that they might put plainclothes officers in the audience.
Either which way, the show isn’t happening at the moment, though a petition has been started to get it reinstated, which you can read on change.org.