The Royal Shakespeare Company has accused Daily Mail critic Quentin Letts of exhibiting a “blatantly racist attitude” in a recent review.
The RSC’s senior management team has issued a statement in response to Letts’ review of The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich, in which he suggested that actor Leo Wringer had been cast in the production only because he is black, claiming: “The RSC’s clunking approach to politically correct casting has again weakened its stage product.”
Letts added: “I suppose its managers are under pressure from the Arts Council to tick inclusiveness boxes, but at some point they are going to have to decide if their core business is drama or social engineering.”
The review prompted widespread criticism on social media and led to the publication of an official statement by the Stratford-upon-Avon theatre company – led by artistic director Gregory Doran – which condemns Letts’ “ugly and prejudiced commentary”.
“We are shocked and deeply troubled by Quentin Letts’ review in which he seems to demonstrate a blatantly racist attitude to a member of the cast. We’re very proud to be working with every member of the company, each of whom has been asked to join us in Stratford because we value and recognise their unique skills and talents,” said the statement, which was also signed by executive director Catherine Mallyon, deputy artistic director Erica Whyman and the production’s director Jo Davies.
It added that the company’s approach to casting sought to find the “most exciting individual for each role” but it was proud that casts represented the diversity of the UK and strived to make sure that its audiences “are able to recognise themselves on stage”.