Theatre News

Grease producers and Ipswich Regent Theatre issue statements following reported hate crime incident

The producer and venue have both issued statements

Abi Skipp from London, England, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
The Ipswich Regent Theatre, © Abi Skipp from London, England, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

The producers of Grease the Musical and the Ipswich Regent Theatre have both issued statements following a reported hate crime incident at the venue.

The Regent is currently hosting the ongoing Grease tour as it travels across the nation, with performances concluding on Saturday.

They said today: “We are deeply concerned to learn of the reported hate crime incident at the Regent Theatre Ipswich. We stand firmly against all forms of hatred and discrimination and are actively cooperating with the relevant authorities to ensure the matter is thoroughly investigated and appropriate measures are taken.”

According to reports, cast members were heckled from the auditorium during the production. Cast member Alicia Belgarde, who plays Frenchy, said on her social media: “Use of heckling inappropriate language, racial slurs, and anything of the kind is not tolerated and absolutely disrespectful to us on the stage.”

The venue continued: “We strongly encourage anyone who experiences or witnesses any acts of hate to report them to us, our front of house staff can be found in the theatre lobby throughout our shows, or to local authorities, so they can be addressed promptly and effectively.

“We appreciate the courage it takes to come forward in such situations and offer our full support to those affected. Ensuring the safety and dignity of all community members is our top priority.

“We are committed to adopting an inclusive and respectful environment. If an individual can be identified, our staff will promptly remove them from the theatre. Our commitment is echoed by the Grease performers, who have been providing show updates on Instagram as part of a social media takeover. They released a statement condemning abusive behaviour, and we stand by them and this statement, and continue to offer our full support.”

In 2022, Peter Andre, who was at the time appearing in the show, lambasted “ignorant” trolls made racist and homophobic comments about the show’s company.

The Grease producers, who are also investigating the matter, added: “The producers of Grease are extremely proud of the diversity of our company, and we are deeply disturbed that racist abuse has been directed towards them. We want to make this clear: we have zero tolerance for such behavior and are truly appalled that this happened.

“We stand with our company, especially those of the global majority, who all bring immense talent and dedication to the stage every performance. There is no place for hate at Rydell High, and any individuals who believe otherwise are not welcome.”

The Grease tour continues until mid-November.