‘RENT’ prompts walkout as audience member realises musical is queer

A production in Leeds has drawn international attention after an audience member disrupted a recent performance with a homophobic outburst.

UK company Bite My Thumb’s staging of RENT was interrupted in Leeds on Saturday, as a viewer declared “I didn’t realise this show was about gays”, leaving the theatre.

Jonathan Larson’s musical is famously focused on the lives of a diverse group of predominantly LGBTQ+ folks living in New York at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis.

In a statement on social media, Bite My Thumb have addressed the incident.

“All the cast, creatives and backstage crew of the production were utterly disgusted to hear about this display of small minded ignorance,” the statement read.

“As a theatre company, we purposely chose RENT to give a voice to the LGBTQ+ community and educate on the horrors of the AIDS epidemic.”

“In a big to take a single individual’s hate and create something positive from it, Bite My Thumb will be donating a percentage of that performance’s box office to a LGBTQ+ charity that will decided [sic] upon by our cast.”

The company thanked the audience member for helping bring donations to an LGBTQ+ organisation.

“Hate is always foolish and love is always wise.”

RENT has garnered much critical acclaim since its premiere in 1996, earning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and the Tony Award for Best Musical.

The musical was also recreated as a film in 2005 starring Rosario Dawson, Taye Diggs, Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp, and a live television event in the US on FOX in 2019, starring Tinashe, Vanessa Hudgens and RuPaul’s Drag Race fan favourite Valentina.

OIP Staff

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