Theatre News

Royal Court cancels Rita Sue and Bob Too in light of sexual harassment conflict

The Out of Joint show was due to run at the Royal Court as part of a tour in January

The cast of Rita, Sue and Bob Too
The cast of Rita, Sue and Bob Too
© Richard Davenport

The Royal Court Theatre has cancelled the run of a play following the venue's work uncovering allegations of sexual harassment.

A joint statement released by the theatre and the production company Out of Joint said that running Rita, Sue and Bob Too on the stage at the Royal Court would be 'highly conflictual'.

The statement read: "The departure of Max Stafford-Clark from Out of Joint and the recent allegations in the media have coincided with the Royal Court’s response to the spotlight on our industry and the rigorous interrogation of our own practices. On our stage we recently heard 150 stories of sexual harassment and abuse and therefore the staging of this work, with its themes of grooming and abuses of power on young women, on that same stage now feels highly conflictual."

The show is staged by Out of Joint, a company which was up until recently run by Stafford-Clark, who originally directed the play while he was artistic director of the Royal Court in 1982. Andrea Dunbar's seminal work tells the story of two young girls who engage in a sexual relationship with a married man. Dunbar wrote the semi-autobiographical play for the Royal Court when she was just 19.

The Royal Court's statement also read that the theatre remains 'incredibly proud' that the shared collaboration between Out of Joint and the Sloane Square venue made the show's tour, which continues until February, possible.

It added: "Out of Joint is now a company in transition, facing its future, a future which the Royal Court
wholeheartedly supports and looks forward to being part of through the current development
of a new co-commission."

Stafford-Clark was forced to step down from Out of Joint following allegations of inappropriate sexualised behaviour. After this, and in response to the Harvey Weinstein allegations the Royal Court staged a series of Town Hall meetings, where people were encouraged to offer their experience of sexual harassment in the industry.

As a result, the theatre put in place a code of conduct offering guidelines to prevent sexual harassment and abuses of power.