An audience member walked out of a theatre performance of Jonathan Larson’s Rent because they “didn’t realise this show was about gays.”
The incident occurred on 12 March at the Carriagework Theatre in Millenium Square, Leeds.
According to a statement from Bite My Thumb, a community arts group, the “ignorant” person left the matinee showing of the play after a performance of Today 4 U, Tomorrow 4 Me.
It explained: “On exiting the individual turned to a member of the front of house team and declared ‘I DIDN’T REALISE THIS SHOW WAS ABOUT GAYS’.
“All the cast, creatives and backstage crew of the production were utterly disgusted to hear about this display of small minded ignorance. As a theatre company, we purposely chose Rent to give a voice to the LGBTQ+ community and educate on the horrors of the AIDS epidemic.”
Queer themes are at the core of Rent given that it takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.
— Bite My Thumb (@bitethumb) March 13, 2022
Bite My Thumb pledged to donate “a percentage of that performance’s box office to a LGBTQ+ charity that will [be] decided upon by our cast” in order to “create something positive” from “a single individual’s hate”.
“So thank you to that close minded, out-dated person. Your appalling attitude now means an underfunded LGBTQ+ organisation will receive a donation it so desperately needs and will put to good use,” the statement added.
“Hate is always foolish and love is always wise.”
More information on the Carriagework Theatre can be found here.