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Equity joins Ungandan protest

20 September 2012

Equity General Secretary Christine Payne has added her name to a letter to Joan Rwabyomere, Uganda’s High Commissioner in the UK, calling on the government of Uganda to stop the prosecution of theatre producer David Cecil and to uphold the fundamental right to freedom of expression.

David Cecil, a British theatre producer (pictured left), was freed on bail from a Ugandan jail earlier this week after being arrested for staging a play about the condition of gay people in the country.

The letter, which has been backed by David Lan, Artistic Director of Young Vic, Mike Harris of Index on Censorship and Mary Ann DeVlieg, Secretary General of IETM, the International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts, reads: "We write to express our concern over the prosecution of British theatre producer David Cecil by the Ugandan Media Council for producing the play 'The River and the Mountain'. The play, which was staged in the Ugandan capital Kampala, chronicles the killing of a gay businessman by his staff. It has been highly praised for the tragicomic way it attempts to tackle widespread homophobia in Uganda where leading politicians wish to introduce the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality" and gay rights activists such as David Kato have been murdered or beaten with impunity. In this climate, free speech is severely restricted. Uganda's National Theatre rejected the play and the Media Council instructed Cecil not to stage it until state censors had gone through it. Bravely, he went ahead. He now faces two years if convicted for ignoring their orders. We call on the government of Uganda to stop the prosecution of David Cecil and to uphold the fundamental right to freedom of expression."

David is charged with "disobeying lawful orders", after a performance of The River and the Mountain, in which the main character, a gay businessman, is killed by his own employees. It was performed at two theatres in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, last month.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda and the Government is currently considering increasing the penalties to the maximum of a life sentence.

Equity members are encouraged to join the protest by writing to High Commissioner Joan Rwabyomere at Uganda House  58-59, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DX.

Watch this space for news of further campaign activities.

 

OTHER INTERNATIONAL NEWS

 

HOW THE MEDIA HAS REPORTED THE PROSECUTION OF DAVID CECIL

 

BRITISH PRODUCER DEFENDS UGANDA GAY PLAY
THE STAGE
British theatre producer David Cecil, facing conviction in Uganda for ignoring an order not to stage a play with gay themes, has said  he and his team have been wrongly represented as political activists.
http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2012/10/british-producer-defends-uganda-gay-play/

INDUSTRY HEAVYWEIGHTS UNITE TO SUPPORT THEATRE PRODUCER IN UGANDA
THE STAGE
Young Vic artistic director David Lan, along with more than 400 theatre professionals, have signed a petition against the imprisonment of UK theatre producer David Cecil.
http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/37437/industry-heavyweights-unite-to-support 

UGANDA FREES BRITISH PRODUCER DAVID CECIL OVER GAY PLAY
BBC NEWS ON-LINE
British theatre producer David Cecil has been released on bail in Uganda, where he was charged over a play about the condition of gay people.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19624441 

UGANDAN COURT RELEASES BRITISH PRODUCER OF GAY PLAY
GUARDIAN
David Cecil released on bail after being accused of disobeying media council orders by staging play about gay businessman
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/17/uganda-british-producer-gay-play

UGANDA: BRITISH GAY RIGHTS SUPPORTER FREED ON BAIL
AFRICA REVIEW
British film producer David Cecil Edward Hugh was on Monday Morning released on cash bail of $200 by Makindye Chief Magistrates Court in Kampala after spending the weekend in Luzira Prison.
http://www.africareview.com/News/British+gay+rights+supporter+released+on+bail/-/979180/1509806/-/uthyib/-/index.html 

UGANDA RELEASES DAVID CECIL, BRITISH THEATER PRODUCER JAILED OVER GAY PLAY
GLOBAL POST
David Cecil, a British theater producer, is freed on bail in Uganda after being arrested over "The River and the Mountain," a play about a gay Ugandan businessman.
http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/120917/uganda-releases-david-cecil-british-producer-gay-play

UGANDA CHARGES BRITISH PRODUCER DAVID CECIL OVER GAY PLAY
BBC NEWS ON-LINE
The authorities in Uganda have charged a British theatre producer, David Cecil, for staging a play about the condition of gay people in the country.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19595265 

UGANDA ARRESTS UK PRODUCER OVER PLAY ABOUT GAY MAN
AFP
KAMPALA — Uganda on Thursday arrested a British theatre producer for staging a play in Kampala about a gay man despite a temporary ban by the country's media authorities, a police spokesman said.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jdF1ykKOwqXTfUGzx2ezZge0REPA?docId=CNG.94f2aee15fe6c666bf80f346b88c4ec4.3f1 

BRIT PRODUCER OF GAY PLAY IN UGANDA HELD IN JAIL
ASSOCIATED PRESS
The British producer of a play about being gay in Uganda is in jail pending his trial on charges that he had the work performed without official authorization.
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/producer-play-gays-faces-jail-uganda-17219456#.UFM986PHllY 

BRITISH THEATRE PRODUCER JAILED FOR PUTTING ON GAY PLAY IN UGANDA
DAILY TELEGRAPH
A British theatre producer who staged a play about homosexuality in Uganda has been jailed after defying an official ban on its public performance.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/uganda/9541908/British-theatre-producer-jailed-for-putting-on-gay-play-in-Uganda.html 

UGANDA JAILS BRITISH PRODUCER OF PLAY ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY
GUARDIAN
David Cecil charged with staging play, about gay man who is murdered by homophobic colleagues, without official approval
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/14/uganda-jails-briton-over-gay-play 

PRODUCER OF UGANDA'S FIRST GAY PLAY COULD BE JAILED
RADIO NETHERLANDS
The British producer of the first-ever theatrical play about homosexuality in Uganda is facing legal consequences. David Cecil risks a two-year jail term in the East African country, Radio Netherlands Worldwide has learned.
http://www.rnw.nl/africa/article/producer-ugandas-first-gay-play-could-be-jailed 

PLAY ABOUT GAY MAN STAGED IN CONSERVATIVE UGANDA
HUFFINGTON POST
KAMPALA, Uganda — A play that revolves around the turbulent life of a gay man in Uganda is being staged in the East African nation, where three years ago a parliamentarian wrote a bill seeking the death penalty for homosexuals.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/20/play-about-gay-man-staged_0_n_1810419.html 
 

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