Catholic schools boss issues apology over gay couple in musical

Sydney Catholic Schools boss Tony Farley and student production of School of Rock
Images: Supplied, Sydney Catholic Schools (inset)

The chief executive of Sydney Catholic Schools has been forced to issue a formal apology after parents complained about a gay couple depicted in a major student production of School of Rock.

The musical is by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is based on the 2003 film of the same name starring Jack Black.

The stage show follows a down-and-out musician who pretends to be a teacher and gets a job at a strict private school. Instead of teaching maths and English, he turns his class into a school-uniformed rock band.

About 3000 Catholic school students from over 100 schools came together for the school musical extravaganza in front of around 20,000 students and parents at Qudos Bank Arena last week.

The School of Rock production was similar to the Schools Spectacular put on by public school students.

But the large-scale stage show was met with an backlash from some outraged parents, with around 80 complaints to head office.

The largest share of those objected to two male students in minor roles as two gay dads who are parents of another character, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Catholic Schools chief issues formal apology for production

Sydney Catholic Schools boss Anthony Farley, who was also the executive producer of the production, has issued an apology.

Farley has sent about 80 letters responding to the complaints, according to the Herald.

He said the musical featured “clearly unacceptable” language, “adult themes… in no way endorsed by Sydney Catholic Schools” and “disrespect for authority that caused some concern.”

“Sydney Catholic Schools sincerely apologises and takes responsibility for any elements which caused offence and are undertaking a full review of all aspects of the production which will ensure that a situation such as this will not occur again,” Farley said.

“We are committed to ensuring that any future productions do not cause divisions or concerns in our communities and which are clearly consistent with parent expectations.”

In a letter to the parents seen by the Herald, Farley explained Catholic schools were “committed in every way to the teachings of the Catholic Church and their practical expression in everything we do and say.”

But in addition to homophobic backlash online, many other Catholic school parents supported the large-scale production.

“It’s sad to see how adults come out to ruin the excitement and happiness of children who have worked so hard all year for this production to come to life,” one parent wrote on Facebook.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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