Belvoir St Theatre Faces Backlash Over Pro-Palestine Stance

Belvoir St Theatre, a prominent fixture in Sydney’s performing arts landscape, is currently navigating a wave of backlash following a pro-Palestine statement made by members of its cast and crew. This declaration has led to the cancellation of subscriptions, the threat of withdrawn donations, and demands for answers from the theatre’s board.

The controversy arose after 14 members of the Never Closer production team included a pro-Palestine statement in the digital brochure for the play, which explores friendships during The Troubles in Northern Ireland. The statement condemned Israel for “genocide and occupation” and solicited donations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, notably omitting any reference to the October 7 attacks, Hamas’s terrorist designation, or the situation of kidnapped hostages.

The response from the theatre’s Jewish patrons was immediate and intense. Long-time supporters expressed their dismay and questioned the theatre’s motives, indicating that such a one-sided political statement had alienated many within the community. This reaction highlights a broader discontent with the blending of political commentary and artistic presentation, with some patrons advocating for a more balanced approach that acknowledges the complexities of the conflict.

Belvoir’s silence in the wake of the controversy has only fueled the discontent. The theatre’s board reportedly convened over the weekend and agreed on a formal response, which has yet to be released. In the interim, several Jewish subscribers have cancelled their memberships, and some donors have indicated plans to withdraw their financial support.

The incident underscores a significant tension between the theatre’s role as a cultural institution and its engagement with political issues. Many patrons believe that the primary purpose of the theatre should be to present performances rather than engage in divisive political commentary. They argue that a more neutral stance, one that recognizes the broader human impact of the conflict and calls for peace, would have been more appropriate.

This situation at Belvoir St Theatre serves as a poignant example of the challenges that arise when art intersects with politics. The theatre must now address the concerns of its patrons while navigating the broader implications of its stance. As the theatre prepares its response, the debate over the role of political expression in the arts continues to reverberate, reflecting the deep connections between cultural institutions and their communities.

6 thoughts on “Belvoir St Theatre Faces Backlash Over Pro-Palestine Stance

  • It’s a play about the TROUBLES. The war against occupation in Ireland… How is that not political? Art is political, silence is political, existence is inherently political. The utter irony

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  • time to renew my subscription for Belvoir!

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  • Well done to these artists! I hope the theatre continues to support them! And for people saying they should have released a “neutral” statement. Absolutely ridiculous. You cannot take a neutral stance against the killing of tens of thousands of people, to remain neutral is to take the side of the oppressor. Don’t back down Belvoir!

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  • Saw the play Never Closer. Yes, about The Troubles but also about maturing into a person who can inspect the situation through a different lens and understand that there are many sides to an argument. In fact, one of the protagonists kills his friends through constructing a bomb because he cannot leave The Troubles behind. Now that is the irony of the play. I will not be renewing my subscription.

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  • Yet again the Zionist lobby and its shrill and bullying megaphones in the Murdoch media, show how they are utterly unprepared to tolerate or accept difference, nor to share public space in our civic culture. Kinda like their colonial mindset in Palestine.

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  • Why not take a stance on the taking of hostages and murder, rape, and other violations of war. Not to mention that the theatre group is supporting a terrorist organisation, Hamas, that uses its own Palestinian people as human shields. Come off it, the whole lens and logic that is being applied is completely out of whack!

    Further if you are a member of the LGBTQI community, good luck living a happy existence in the Palestinian Territories controlled by Hamas! They are a heinous organisation that has reaped hell for both Palestinians and Israeli’s alike. Why the world, including groups like this, can’t apply a blow-torch to Hamas is astounding, we wouldn’t be seeing the tragedy unfolding right now if they didn’t exist!

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