Theatre forced to close after homophobia claims

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

Michael Platt, Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

CALGARY -- It’s one way to start a witch hunt: publicly cry homophobia, and then lay low as the venom flies.

That’s what operators of a Lethbridge, Alta., acting outfit did Wednesday, after announcing their brand-new alternative-lifestyle theatre was being forced to close, with the blame squarely upon intolerant neighbours in their building.

“In the span of just the past few days, ignorant and homophobic neighbouring tenants in the McFarland Building have made it clear in various ways that we are not welcome in their midst,” wrote three people behind Bordello, home of Theatre Outre.

The three — Richie Wilcox, Jay Whitehead and Aaron Collier — say homophobic letters and a petition sent to their landlord halted their plans to develop a new space for Bordello, known for its risque, queer-lifestyle shows, including “Homo for the Holidays” and “A Tribute to the Tallywhacker.”

“Two hateful, hurtful and defamatory e-mails were sent to our landlord questioning our integrity based on moral grounds and challenging our co-existing alongside their businesses,” reads their website, which promotes Theatre Outre as “extravagant, perverted and queer”.

“(The) actual complaints lobbied against us in e-mails expressed hypothetical concerns about exposure to homosexual lifestyles, ‘transsexual endorsement,’ child molestation, rape, indecent exposure and acquiring STDs from the building’s toilets.”

Not surprisingly, such inflammatory language has fuelled anger and outrage in defence of the theatre.

Wilcox, Whitehead and Collier outed the neighbours, offering the names and numbers of two tenants — an insurance broker and a music teacher — who they claim wrote the letters and started a petition to drive the theatre out of the building.

“If you need someone to talk to about this, please call or e-mail the following people,” they wrote.

But the three accusers weren’t willing to answer questions themselves, failing to respond to repeated calls and e-mails.


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