Romeo and Juliet star suffers ‘barrage of deplorable racial abuse’

Producers of a new Romeo and Juliet show starring Hollywood actor Tom Holland have condemned racist abuse posted online following the announcement of its cast.

Francesca Amewudah-Rivers, best known for appearing in the comedy series Bad Education, will star alongside the Spider-Man actor in the West End production of the Shakespeare play, it was announced at the end of March.

Since then, racist comments have been posted on social media sites for production company Jamie Lloyd.

On Friday, the theatre company issued a statement condemning the “barrage of deplorable racial abuse online directed towards a member of our company”.

Image: This will be Amewudah-Rivers’ West End debut. Pic: Jamie Lloyd Company

‘This must stop’

The statement continued: “This must stop. We are working with a remarkable group of artists. We insist that they are free to create work without facing online harassment.

“We will continue to support and protect everyone in our company at all costs. Any abuse will not be tolerated and will be reported. Bullying and harassment have no place online, in our industry or in our wider communities.

“Our rehearsal room is full of joy, compassion and kindness. We celebrate the extraordinary talent of our incredible collaborators.

“The Romeo and Juliet community will continue to rehearse with generosity and love, and focus on the creation of our production.”

Amewudah-Rivers is a stage actress who has appeared in School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, as well as other productions of Shakespeare plays including Othello and Macbeth.

But playing Juliet alongside Holland’s Romeo will mark her West End debut.

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When her casting was announced, she said: “I’m excited to bring a fresh energy to this story alongside Tom, and to welcome new audiences to the theatre.”

The production marks Holland’s return to the stage, having previously starred in Billy Elliot The Musical when he was young.

Freema Agyeman, Joshua-Alexander Williams, Michael Balogun, Tomiwa Edu, Mia Jerome, Daniel Quinn-Toye, Ray Sesay and Nima Taleghani also star.

Romeo and Juliet opens at the Duke of York’s Theatre on 11 May and runs until 3 August.

Source : Sky News