Gay controversy opera goes ahead

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A community opera which was nearly derailed in a row over a gay character has gone ahead in Bridlington, East Yorkshire.

Beached, written by Billy Elliot author Lee Hall, was almost cancelled after a primary school’s headteacher complained about language in some scenes.

Emma Hobbs, the head of Bay Primary School in Bridlington, which had 300 pupils involved in the work, complained about scenes involving the gay character, saying she needed to protect children.

Mr Hall responded by accusing the school and council of homophobia, which they denied.

The year-long project, commissioned by Opera North on public money, looked set to be scrapped completely until Mr Hall agreed to remove the word ‘queer’ from the script.

The show went ahead at Bridlington’s Spa theatre on Saturday evening and speaking before it began, Ms Hobbs told BBC News: “I can certainly say that the performance speaks for itself.

“When the audience see them in action I think that will overshadow anything really.”