Rita, Sue and Max Too?

In a world where women are speaking out more and more about the abuse they’ve faced at the hands of influential men then it was only a matter of time until it reached U.K theatre.

The Guardian broke the story that Max Stafford-Clark, the former Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre, was kicked out of his position as the founder and Artistic Director of the Out of Joint touring company due to inappropriate and sexualised behaviour.

Earlier this month Out of Joint put out a statement stating he had departed to “focus on his international freelance career”, with no mention to the real reason. If it wasn’t for The Guardian this would never have seen the light of day. So we have to ask ourselves, is Out of Joint behaving as a socially responsible company by covering up the crimes of its Artistic Director? Even when questioned by The Guardian then Out of Joint avoided commenting specifically on the reasons for Max Stafford-Clark’s departure.

As his last act as Artistic Director, Max Stafford-Clark has been directing Rita, Sue and Bob Too, which is currently on tour across the country. Rita, Sue and Bob Too is a play about an older man taking advantage of two teenage girls, which now seems massively inappropriate considering what has been revealed.

Rita, Sue and Bob Too is heading to Yorkshire next, with dates at Cast in Doncaster and York Theatre Royal. We wonder if this revelation will cause the dates to be cancelled, or if it’ll just be ignored with some half-hearted statement of condemnation. At the time of writing this then no statement has been issued by either theatre, and until challenged I expect they’ll try to ignore it, just like Out of Joint tried to do.

People are being encouraged to speak out when they face abuse, which is why it is so disappointing, and borderline criminal, that Out of Joint issued a false statement with details of Max Stafford-Clark’s departure.

Out of Joint said in a statement:

We admire, support and act swiftly, and effectively, to protect those who bravely use their voice to report wrongdoing concerns.

Though they then used their power to try and hide the concerns that had been reported. This is another case where actions speak louder than words, and Out of Joint has failed the entire Arts Sector.

After all this we have to wonder, what else has Out of Joint covered up?

The original The Guardian article can be found here.

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