May 20, 2024


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Black Actors Deplore Misuse of 'Romeo and Juliet'.

Black Actors Deplore Misuse of 'Romeo and Juliet'.

Notable black actors including No time to die Star Lashana Lynch and Enola Holmes Susan Wokoma has signed an open letter condemning the abuse Francesca Ameodah-Rivers faced after she was cast in a West End theater production. Romeo Juliet.

Jamie Lloyd's company announced last month that Amodah-Rivers will play Juliet alongside Tom Holland's Romeo in a production of William Shakespeare's tragedy, which opens at the Duke of York's Theater on May 23.

More than 880 people have signed the open letter, organized by Wokoma and Somali writer Noni Seaton. Among the signatories is Sheila Etim (The woman king), Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets and lies), Lolly Adefobi (ghosts), Freema Agyeman (Doctor Who), Wunmi Mosaku (Damilola, our beloved boy), and Tamara Lawrence (time).

“Too often, Black actors — especially Black actresses — are left to weather the storm of online abuse after committing the crime of getting a job on their own,” the letter read.Full text here).

“The racist and misogynistic abuse directed at such a gentle soul was too much for her to bear. For a play to be announced to ignite such ugly, twisted abuse is truly embarrassing for those who are so empty and barren in their own lives that they should even interfere with the hateful abuse.

She added: “Too often theater companies, broadcasters, producers and streamers fail to provide any help or support when their black performers face racist or misogynistic abuse. Reporting is often left to the people who have been abused, who are also expected to promote said show.

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“We want to send a clear message to Francesca and all Black female artists who face this kind of abuse – we see you. We see the art you have been able to produce not only with the pressures that your white colleagues face but also with the added painful obstacle of misogyny.”

Jamie Lloyd's company spoke out about the issue, releasing a statement saying there had been “a barrage of unfortunate racist abuse directed towards a member of the company”. She added: “This has to stop.” We work with an amazing group of artists. We insist that they are free to create businesses without being harassed online.

Amewudah-Rivers previously appeared in two seasons of the BBC series Bad education And three short films. She has theatrical experience in productions at the Globe and Lyric Hammersmith among other venues. Amwudah-Rivers is represented by Curtis Brown.