Play’s premiere a free speech victory

Issue 
Director Vivienne Glance introduces the play

Friends of Palestine WA staged Perth’s premiere production of Caryl Churchill’s play Seven Jewish Children on May 15. The play attracted a full house of 200 people. Many more were turned away on the night.

The play attracted controversy after the Jewish Community Council’s attempt to prevent its performance in WA.

Two previous proposed performances at multicultural arts venue Kulcha and at the Hale School were cancelled due to a lobbying campaign by the JCC.

The JCC also tried to prevent this performance by calling on the Town of Vincent Council to cancel the booking for the North Perth Town Hall, where the play was staged. When this attempt failed, it called a protest outside the play, which attracted several dozen people.

The JCC handed out leaflets falsely claiming the play was anti-semitic.

Friends of Palestine convenor Alex Whisson said on the night the successful staging of the play was a victory for free speech.

On the night, $1400 was collected, which was to be used to send medical aid to Palestine. Unfortunately the cost of security guards, mandated by the council as part of the hall booking, will reduce the funds available for the aid.