Posted on January 31, 2023

Canada’s Top Taxpayer-Funded Theater Sparks Fury by Holding ‘Blacks Only’ Performance

James Gordon, Daily Mail, January 28, 2023

Canada’s top taxpayer-funded theatre has sparked fury by holding a ‘blacks only’ performance – and banned white and Asian people.

The National Arts Centre in Ottawa will hold the event in the middle of Black History Month on February 17, with a performance of ‘Is God Is’ at the Babs Asper Theatre.

The 897-seat venue will be open exclusively to an ‘all-Black identifying audience’ with people of other races being told to attend the play on any of the other eight shows from February 9 to 18.

The Centre has said the purpose is to ‘allow for conversation and participation to be felt throughout the theatre.’

The theater says those coming will self-identify based on an honor system and no one will be turned away at the door.

‘There will be no checkpoints for Black Out Night ticket holders and no questions will be asked about anyone’s identity, race or gender,’ the theatre explained.

The venue says the decision to create such an evening was inspired by something similar held in the fall of 2019 for Jeremy O’Harris’ Slave Play on Broadway.

‘A Black Out is an open invitation to Black Audiences to come and experience performances with their community.

‘The evenings will provide a dedicated space for Black theatregoers to witness a show that reflects the vivid kaleidoscope that is the Black experience,’ the theater explained in a press release.

The decision by the theater to hold such a night did not go down well with many on social media.

”A dedicated space for Black theatregoers’ There’s so much wrong with this. It’s not progressive. By definition it’s racism.

‘At the National Arts Centre. I’d also call into question the value of content of the event, but that is for another tweet,’ wrote one Twitter user.

Another described the decision as ‘Cultural Apartheid.’

‘The identitarian left proudly appropriates an oldie but goody. Canada is starting to make the USA seem like Hungary,’ stated David Rieff.

Another social media user suggested that others were trying to sabotage the event.

‘During Black History Month the NAC is hosting a Black Out night performance of ‘Is God Is’.

‘Prepare not to be shocked: even though there are many other performances available to them, white losers are purchasing tickets to Black Out night in protest.’

The play, Is God Is, was written in 2016 by American playwright Aleshea Harris and tells the story of twin sisters who travel from the South to the California desert to exact revenge on their abusive father.

The Centre is also planning to hold another ‘Black Out’ night on May 5 for a performance of ‘Heaven,’ a play about the African-Canadian settlement of Amber Valley, Alberta.

No other ethnicities have been given their own night of dedicated performances by the National Arts Centre however those who self-identifying as Indigenous people can obtain tickets for shows at $15.

Black Out Nights have already been put on by other theater groups including Toronto-based company Theatre Passe Muraille.

Their website even stated what would happen if patrons who are not black arrive at a show.

‘If someone self-identifies as a non-Black person and demands to enter the room, a member of our staff will be present to chat with this person.

‘We try our best to have this labour land on a non-Black staff member and we will have non-Black front-of-house, leadership, or technical and production team members present in the lobby to help de-escalate such situations.’