The Old Vic Theatre, led by Artistic Director Kevin Spacey, has donated the venue free of charge to Ugandan playwright Judy Adong so that a benefit reading of her powerful new play can be seen in London for one night only, Sunday November 4th at 7pm.
'Just Me You And The Silence' is set in Kampala, and follows the tragic story of Jacob Obina, an ambitious politician and family man. The play portrays the injustice and persecution gay and lesbian people suffer in Uganda, a country currently tabling a law dubbed 'Kill The Gays' which would see a punishment of life imprisonment and even death for certain homosexual acts.
Kevin Spacey explained why the theatre has decided to support the reading, "Theatre has a crucial role to play in our world, to allow people to advance and discuss ideas, confront issues and communicate across cultural boundaries. This is an important piece that deserves to be heard and we are pleased to be providing an opportunity for audiences to connect with its message."
Directed by Patricia McGregor, the play is a vivid reminder that it remains illegal to be gay in seventy eight countries, with the death penalty the ultimate punishment in five. The benefit reading is co-presented by the New York based organisation, Fuel | We Power Change, and The Kaleidoscope Trust, a UK charity working internationally to end the persecution of LGBT communities.
"This play is not only dramatic in its content, but also in its message," stated Lance Price, Executive Director of The Kaleidoscope Trust. "We are honoured to be a presenting partner of this important event. We thank The Old Vic for supporting Judy's play, and for allowing the simple truth, that it should never be a crime to be gay, to be spread further."
"The Old Vic's donation of its remarkable theatre for Judy's reading is an historic contribution to the global LGBT equality movement," says Bridgit Antoinette Evans, President of Fuel, "one that has already inspired new sources of support for the courageous individuals and organisations working to promote human rights for all around the world."
The play has attractEd Strong support, with UK actress Naomie Harris stating: 'Bravo to Judy for highlighting this very important issue and thereby, one hopes, encouraging a change of attitude on the part of the Ugandan government. Why should any government have the right to dictate who we, as sentient adults, choose to love?"
Frank Mugisha, the lead LGBT activist in Uganda, has also given public support to the production, 'This play is an important cultural moment that will give voice to a section of society that is given too little chance to express itself creatively and openly."
In order to make the event accessible to all, Judy Adong has requested that tickets be donated to numerous charities and campaigns working to end the persecution of LGBT communities. Partners include All Out, Human Dignity Trust, Stonewall and the National Anti-Bullying Alliance. Funds from the event will be directed at cultural projects and campaigns which aim to effect legal and social change for persecuted LGBT communities worldwide.
The reading is set for Sunday, November 4th at 7pm at The Old Vic, The Cut, London, SE1 8NB. Tickets: £12 / £20 / £25 / £50. To book, visit www.oldvictheatre.com or by phone 0844 871 7628. The play's website can be found at www.thesilenceplay.org.