The Pierneef Theatre in Pretoria has received an enormous backlash, after they moved to cancel a puppet show which featured LGBTQI+ characters. The performance, aimed at children, was initially pulled from their schedule. The venue then, allegedly, offered performers the chance to retake their slot – if they paid triple the venue hire price.
If we accept discrimination that is against our Constitution we also condone discrimination against ourselves when the day comes that someone in power dislikes our beliefs.— DA LGBTIQ+?️? (@DA_LGBTI) October 26, 2020
On Friday 23 October, the theatre is said to have informed the Drizzles Production Company that they could no longer perform their ‘Kinderteater’ puppet show, which was scheduled for 30 and 31 October. They then backtracked, jacked-up their costs, and in the process, upset the DA’s Rainbow Network (Darn):
Wayne Helfrich is a leading representative for the Rainbow Network. He said that the cancellation was tantamount to ‘homophobic behaviour’, blaming the Pierneef for ‘encouraging discrimination’.
“The DA Rainbow Network will under no circumstances condone homophobic behavior because an injustice to one is an injustice to all. It is concerning that during Pride Month as well as Mental Health Month, the Pierneef Theatre would rather encourage discrimination than education.”
“If there were more platforms available for children’s theatre with queer characters, which assist with destigmatisation and education, there would be fewer teen suicides and brutal assaults and murders of members of the LGBTIQ community. The theatre is in contravention of Section 16 of the Bill of Rights.”Wayne Helfrich
DA Rainbow Network condemns homophobic actions of Pierneef Theatre. pic.twitter.com/K8QZJXzQYY— DA Gauteng (@DAGauteng) October 26, 2020