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School Play Cancelled Over One 'Inappropriate' Word

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School Play Cancelled Over One 'Inappropriate' Word

A secondary school in Braintree, Essex has been forced to shut down their theatre production after a parent complained about the script.

Alec Hunter Academy had been performing the play for "many years", and this is the first year in which they've been forced to cancel.

Sparkleshark, the production they intended to put on, revolves around a boy named Jake who struggles with school bullies.

Parents believed the script 'sexualised' children. [Credit: Unsplash]
Parents believed the script 'sexualised' children. [Credit: Unsplash]
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An anonymous mum of a 12-year-old pupil filed a complaint against the production, after use of the word 'horny' was spotted in the script.

"My 12-year-old texted me during break asking what 'horny' meant", she said. "I didn't realise [the word] was in a school production they had to learn, which includes the sexualisation of underage children".

The parent also branded the script as "grooming material being distributed to children as young as 12".

A new production is currently being studied. [Credit: Unsplash]
A new production is currently being studied. [Credit: Unsplash]
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The state academy has said that it will now find a new production instead.

"While [Sparkleshark] has been a popular stage play studied by our students over many years, and in numerous other schools nationwide, we have recently received complaints about the content from concerned parents", headteacher Trevor Lawn responded.

"We discussed the matter and a prompt decision was taken by the drama department to replace Sparkleshark with an alternative play for students to study, through which the same skills will be taught".

The play has toured around the world various times since it's commission in 1997. [Credit: Unsplash]
The play has toured around the world various times since it's commission in 1997. [Credit: Unsplash]
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The play was originally written by Philip Ridley and commissioned by the National Youth Theatre in 1997.

It involves a group of secondary school children (aged 14-16) who are written into a fantasy book by their classmate Jack, as a form of escapism from his bullying problem.

Sparkleshark has been performed by many successful actors over the years, such as Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kellie Bright from EastEnders. It has also toured worldwide, including the Australian Theatre For Young People.

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash

Topics: News, Parenting

Hannah Van-de-Peer
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