A Sydney private school is coming under fire from angry parents over a lesbian kiss in a Shakespeare production, with Mark Latham raising the issue in parliament.
The gender-bending “SHEkspeare” performance featuring a female Romeo passionately kissing Juliet was performed at Campbelltown Performing Arts High.
Following the performance, parents raised their complaints with NSW MP Mark Latham.
Latham later said in parliament that students were “distressed” and “upset” after viewing the performance.
Mark Latham says the kiss was “inappropriate”
After hearing of the kiss between the two female actors it is understood some concerned parents approached MP Mark Latham.
This prompted Latham to address the lesbian kiss during question time in NSW parliament.
“There’s [a] passionate kissing scene going on stage,” he stated.
“Some of the boys yelled out, others were distressed, some of the girls were upset,” he claimed.
Apparently, however, it was the parents who were most distressed, believing they should have been told in advance of the kiss.
“The parents are very upset with the note that went out where there was no mention of this. The kids came home saying there were two women kissing.”
“It’s inappropriate, this shouldn’t happen in front of 13 and 14-year-olds unless you have parental permission, some of these kids haven’t even hit adolescence.”
“There are Christian, Hindu, Muslim and socially conservative parents in the Campbelltown community who have a different view and were not given the option to opt-out” he continued.
“The exchange of affection by actors during the play was considered appropriate to the script.”
However, Education Minister Sarah Mitchell responded by saying “The exchange of affection by actors during the play was considered appropriate to the script.”
Although Mitchell did appear to concede that the issue was “controversial.”
In her response, she also said parental permission was obtained, which was “consistent with the Department of Education’s Controversial Issues in Schools policy.”
Despite the comments by Mark Latham the Education Minister said no complaints had been made directly to the school.
Adam O’Brien, Artistic Director of The Dire Theatre Company responsible for the production maintains the kiss was to be expected.
“I would think it would be fairly understood that Romeo and Juliet would have scenes of affection onstage.”
“It would be naïve to expect the world’s greatest love story would omit any of the love.”
He said there had been no complaints about previous performances of the play.