The Royal Court Theatre and British theatre company Out of Joint announced in a joint statement that they will not present the current touring production of Andrea Dunbar’s Rita Sue and Bob Too, due to play a limited engagement at the London theatre in January 2018. The announcement comes off the heels of a string of sexual harassment allegations against Max Stafford-Clark, Out of Joint’s founding artistic director and former artistic director of The Royal Court.
Earlier this fall, The Guardian brought to light allegations of inappropriate, sexualized behavior against prominent stage director Stafford-Clark made by a female employee at Out of Joint. The claims led the director to step down from his own company, founded in 1993.
The current climate of high-profile allegations of sexual assault against people in the entertainment industry also recently prompted the Royal Court to rigorously interrogate its own practices, leading to the discovery of more stories of sexual harassment and abuse.
“On our stage we recently heard 150 stories of sexual harassment and abuse and therefore the staging of this work, with its themes of grooming and abuses of power on young women, on that same stage now feels highly conflictual,” reads the statement on the company website.
Dunbar’s 1982 autobiographical play Rita Sue and Bob Too was commissioned by Stafford-Clark during his time at The Royal Court. The play, later adapted into a film, tells the story of two teenage girls who have an affair with the same married man.
The revival of Rita Sue and Bob Too, directed by Stafford-Clark, was a shared collaboration between the Royal Court and Out of Joint. The show has toured 10 venues this fall.