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Uganda regulators cancel gay play’s run

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – A play about a gay businessman who is coming terms with his sexuality in a homophobic environment ran at a couple small venues, but its scheduled performances at the National Theatre of Uganda were cancelled after regulators intervened, The Guardian reports.

The River and the Mountain, by British playwright Beau Hopkins, has stirred up controversy not only because of its "sympathetic portrayal of gay people, but also because it suggests that much of the anger and hatred has been whipped up by politicians and religious leaders for their own purposes," the report notes.

Hopkins told The Guardian he hoped the play would inspire discussion about homosexuality among those who saw it, and in the media. But the local media "seemed to have agreed not to talk about it," he says. 

Okuyo Joel Atiku Prynce, who plays the story's central character, says "no clear reason" was given for the decision to stop the production's run at the National Theatre, adding he's disappointed but not surprised.

A member of the regulatory Media Council says the script had to be cleared by authorities, according to the Guardian, which also notes that this is not usually a requirement for theatre pieces.

Earlier this month, Ugandans celebrated their first Pride with a parade, film festival, drag show and parties.

Police raided the festivities, and detained participants, who were eventually released without charge.


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