Miss Saigon controversy: Theatre company CANCELS performance at Sheffield Crucible in protest

Miss Saigon controversy: Theatre company CANCELS performance at Sheffield Crucible in protest

In protest of the Crucible Theatre’s choice to produce Miss Saigon at the same time, a theatre group has withdrawn a production from the venue.

Miss Saigon is set in Vietnam towards the end of the war, telling the story of a young Vietnamese woman and her relationship with an American soldier. Pictured: A performance of the play in Vienna, Austria in January 2022
Due to the Crucible’s decision to play Miss Saigon, New Earth Theatre company, a collection of British east and southeast Asian artists, stated it was dropping their production of Worth.

According to the organization, the opera contains detrimental stereotypes, sexism, and bigotry aimed at Vietnamese people.

Sheffield Theatres, which operates the 980-seat Crucible in the city center, stated that it “appreciated” the production’s withdrawal.

Miss Saigon is set in Vietnam at the conclusion of the war and follows the love between a young Vietnamese woman and an American soldier. shown is a January 2022 performance of the play in Vienna, Austria

According to New Earth Theatre, Miss Saigon has remained a highly controversial musical since its premiere over three decades ago.

They stated that the film’s profoundly problematic narrative and depiction of the Vietnam War and Vietnamese people had upset and offended many spectators.

Working beside a musical that fosters widely held perceptions of Asian inferiority might have a negative effect on the welfare of our crew.

Sheffield Theatres said, “there is no doubting that previous renditions of this narrative have elicited significant reactions and emotions.”

The theater stated, “We have treated this new production with sensitivity and think this is an opportunity to connect in a new way with a predominantly East and South East Asian company to reframe the tale.”

In a long statement posted on Monday, the theater’s artistic directors Robert Hastie and Anthony Lau elaborated on their decision to stage a new production of Miss Saigon in the summer of 2023.

Sheffield’s Crucible theatre (pictured) stated that it respects Replacement Earth Theatre’s choice to pull their piece Worth due to the staging of Miss Saigon, but that its new production was’sensitive’ to concerns.

According to their understanding, the play “tells a narrative about Vietnam that involves images of Vietnamese women and men that have angered audiences and have been interpreted as reinforcing harmful stereotypes.”

The directors of the venue, however, stated that they had planned to recreate the classic “through new lenses that speak to the world as it is now.”

In 1989, the first production of Miss Saigon premiered on London’s West End.

Despite gaining critical praise, including two Laurence Olivier and three Tony awards, the original production stirred controversy because white performers were had to wear eye prosthesis to alter their appearance.

Inspired by Puccini’s 1904 opera Madama Butterfly, it depicts the relationship between a young Vietnamese woman and an American soldier at the end of the Vietnam War.

BEATS, an advocacy group for British east and southeast Asians working in the theatre and film industries, criticized Miss Saigon for perpetuating “damaging stereotypes.”

The group asserted that the musical “fetishized and hyper-sexualized” Vietnamese women, “emasculated and erased” Asian men, and “erased the actual experience of war and violence endured by millions.”

“The time for a publicly subsidized production of Miss Saigon has surely passed,” they added.

When contacted, Sheffield Theatres provided no further comment.


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