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Royal Court pulls Max Stafford-Clark production following harassment allegations

Max Stafford-Clark. Photo: Sarah Lee Max Stafford-Clark. Photo: Sarah Lee
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UPDATE: Since this story was published, the Royal Court has overturned its original decision to cancel the play. 

London’s Royal Court has pulled a production of touring play Rita, Sue and Bob Too following harassment allegations involving its director.

The Andrea Dunbar play was originally directed at the Royal Court in 1982 by Max Stafford-Clark, who co-directed the new touring production of the show. The play is co-produced by Out of Joint and the Royal Court.

In October, it was revealed that Clark had left Out of Joint, following allegations that he had made inappropriate sexual comments towards members of staff.

The play, which has been touring the UK, was due to come to the Royal Court in January.

However, in a statement, the theatre – which has been at the forefront of activity within the sector to highlight abuse – said staging it felt “highly conflictual”.

“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,” it said in a joint statement with Out of Joint.

It added: “The show has successfully toured to 10 venues this autumn and we remain incredibly proud that the shared collaboration made the tour possible. Out of Joint is now a company in transition, facing its future, a future which the Royal Court whole-heartedly supports and looks forward to being part of through the current development of a new co-commission.”