Israeli group have show cancelled after protest

Israeli demonstration outside Underbelly at Teviot Place and Bristo Square in protest of the festival show The City. Picture: Lesley Martin
Israeli demonstration outside Underbelly at Teviot Place and Bristo Square in protest of the festival show The City. Picture: Lesley Martin
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PERFORMANCES by an Israeli theatre company have been cancelled at the Underbelly Fringe venue after just one day following protests over the current crisis in Gaza.

Police had to be called to the Bristo Square venue yesterday as demonstrators targeted Incubator Theatre’s production The City, which is partly funded by the Israeli state.

Organiser Albie O’Neill said protestors had vowed to attend every day until the state funding is withdrawn.

“We need to send the message to the Israeli government that the killing has to stop,” O’Neill said.

He added that many protestors have friends in Palestine and Gaza, and said the reaction from the public, other performers and worker from various venues has been “overwhelmingly” supportive. “We are sure this will continue,” he said.

And while the venue put out a statement backing the performers, they then admitted that after consultation with the police the show had been cancelled, and said they would be looking for an alternate venue.

A statement by Underbelly read: “Earlier today, after discussions between Underbelly, Incubator Theatre, the University of Edinburgh and Police Scotland it was agreed that future performances of The City at The Reid Hall would be cancelled.

“Today’s performance of The City went ahead as planned, but the logistics of policing and stewarding the protest around The Reid Hall – and the effect of the disturbance on Underbelly and other venues’ other shows – make it untenable for the show to continue in the Cowbarn, Reid Hall.

“Underbelly and Incubator Theatre will work to identify other suitable venues for the show to perform at in Edinburgh.”

They added that all tickets for forthcoming performances of The City would be refunded.

More than 50 cultural figures have also opposed the production, with the likes of Scotland’s national poet Liz Lochhead, author Alasdair Gray and playwright David Greig signing a letter calling for its cancellation.

The letter called on Underbelly to “show solidarity with the Palestinian people” and rethink its decision to include the show in its Fringe programme.