The Royal Court theatre in London is now being accused of censoring its shelves for fear of offending the Chinese government. The Guardian reported that a major new play about contemporary Tibet was pulled off from scheduled by the theatre.
Abhishek Majumdar revealed a copy of the Tibet play which has been named Pah-la (Father). The copy bears the imprint of the Arts Council and the Royal Court and has text on it saying that the play would run in the theatre for a month. However, Majumdar said that the play, which was supposed to run last autumn, was removed from the shelf by the theatre after it became apprehensive about how it would be received in Beijing where Chinese writers are working with the British Council and the Royal Court Theatre which is publicly funded.
Majumdar’s play, which was in development for three years and rehearsals for it had been fixed, had reportedly been called out by the British Council which “pressurised” the theatre to pull it off. His work deals with life in contemporary Tibet and retells the personal stories of Tibetans he’s worked closely with in India.
In face of growing criticism over censoring the Tibet play, the Royal Court Theatre issued a statement which said that the “The Royal Court always seeks to protect and not to silence any voice. In an international context, this can sometimes be more complex across communities. The Royal Court is committed to protecting free speech, sometimes within difficult situations.”
Majumdar, while speaking to The Observer, said that he had been warned by the Dalai Lama that he must ready himself for resistance. The Royal Court Theatre, according to the Guardian, has earned a reputation for staging works that are often politically and socially charged.