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Campaign starts to ban Jack the Ripper pantomime from Norwich

06:30 03 December 2015

Spooky Kid Productions show Jack The Ripper The Panto. Picture: Supplied

Spooky Kid Productions show Jack The Ripper The Panto. Picture: Supplied

Supplied

Plans to stage a Jack the Ripper-inspired pantomime at a Norwich theatre have come under fire.

Norwich Playhouse. Photo: Benjamin Mathers.Norwich Playhouse. Photo: Benjamin Mathers.

The adult production, based on the 19th century serial killer, is due to take place at Norwich Playhouse from December 10 to 12 but the venue is facing pressure to scrap the show, with critics saying it mocks violence against women.

But both the theatre and production company have defended the show and have said the performances will go ahead as planned.

The campaign against the play is being led by Sophie Elliott, 23, who set up the petition urging Norwich Playhouse to stop the show after she first became aware of it via Facebook.

Miss Elliott, who works in a call centre and runs a feminist magazine called Parallel, said she was “shocked and a bit disgusted” when she researched the show online.

Sophie Elliott disagrees with Norwich Playhouse's Jack The Ripper The Panto.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYSophie Elliott disagrees with Norwich Playhouse's Jack The Ripper The Panto. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

She said: “I was surprised that somebody would give the go-ahead for something like that. It is turning violence against women and things like that into a joke. I find it surprising that in 2015 people still find that kind of thing funny and amusing.”

So far more than 250 supporters have backed the petition. It states: “We call for The Playhouse, Norwich, to cease selling tickets and allowing Jack the Ripper the Panto to be performed on their premises. Do not perpetuate rape culture more than it already is within our society.

“Do not desecrate the memories of the real-life victims of Jack the Ripper by turning him into the good-guy protagonist of a sexist and misogynistic stage show.”

Caroline Richardson, Norwich Playhouse director, said the organisation was “very sad” that some people think the theatre would put a show on its stage that pokes fun at violence against women.

“We think very carefully about the shows we programme here, and the comedy in Jack the Ripper the Panto may be not to everyone’s taste, but we would like to reassure the people who are worried that violence against women is not the butt of the joke, although obviously as it is a show about a murderer, murder will feature,” she said.

A statement from production company Spooky Kid Productions said: “Jack The Ripper The Panto categorically does not make a mockery of violence against sex workers and women, or participate in rape culture. We have performed the show in Norwich several times at two other theatres, to over 1,600 people from a broad range of backgrounds, and we have never had any complaints about the content of the panto.”

For more on the show, visit www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk, and view the petition at www.change.org

•What’s your view? You can leave your comments below and vote in our poll.

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48 comments

  • From the theatre's website Based on the 19th century’s most notorious killer, Jack The Ripper The Panto is a love story with prostitutes, murders, drugs and a good old sing song. After a spate of unfortunate “incidents” Jack Ripper is forced to flee to London with only Manson, the psychotic cat, and a Fairy Godmother for company. With no shelter and no food Jack is forced to take drastic steps to survive. Falling foul of Inspector Abberline and the London Peelers and falling in love with brothel cleaner and wannabe prostitute Cindy, only one thing's certain – this isn’t going to end well. Throw in a load of audience participation, the singalong favourite Thrash Me Thrash Me, and a laugh-a-minute script, and you have an unmissable evening's entertainment. Jack The Ripper The Panto has sold out theatres in the region since 2009 with its blend of politically incorrect comedy mixed with the pantomime structure we all know from our childhood. Please be aware, however, this is not a show for children, or, for that matter, the easily offended, or basically anyone who doesn’t think the idea of a pantomime about Jack the Ripper is big, clever or funny!

    Report this comment

    Bex

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Last time I heard Great Britain was a democratic country ? Campaign by the minority ..lol if you don't like it don't watch it

    Report this comment

    Norwich

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Last time I heard Great Britain was a democratic country ? Campaign by the minority ..lol if you don't like it don't watch it

    Report this comment

    Norwich

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • I repect her opinion even while disagreeing with it. The saddest aspect of the matter is once again the tawdry level of Archant's journalism which has done her no favours by casting her as a pantomime villain.

    Report this comment

    guella

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • To the morally superior Sophie Elliot and your LITTLE following! I was thinking about going to the cinema tomorrow night to watch a film. Would you be kind enough to tell me which films I'm allowed to see? After all I'm only 46 years old so I'm way to young to be able to make up my own mind. No doubt the new James Bond movie would be inappropriate after all Mr. Bond has a reputation for putting it about. And Black Mass starring Johnny Depp as the gangster James Whitey Bulger would be out of the question because he strangles a woman. Whatever film I see I'd better go to the late afternoon showing so I can be home by 8. Otherwise I might get sent to bed early with no supper and be grounded for a month!

    Report this comment

    Dean Cooper Elston

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • You know what I am going to a Christmas Carol Service.Leave all you sad lot to watch any tosh that engages your warped brains. Glad tidings of comfort and joy to you .

    Report this comment

    PaulH

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Hahahaha ....that's my final thought. Gladys

    Report this comment

    doddy

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • "i four one will be avoiding the theatre when it is on and i will also be singing the petiton to." whiley`s mum,i presume it`s the queue outside the theatre you`ll be "singing the petition to"? well done. should help pass the time as they wait to go in...

    Report this comment

    blueboy

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Great advert for the Playhouse. Thank you Miss Elliott - The Playhouse promotions department.

    Report this comment

    Raisedeyebrows

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • I am certain that there are plenty of things that Miss Elliot does in her private life and finds acceptable that would not meet my approval - However I am certain that she would be horrified if I were to tell her what she could and couldn't do. Let people make up their own minds what they want to do in their lives young lady.

    Report this comment

    Raisedeyebrows

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • I had no intention to go and see the play but now I'M GOING! Just to rub it in the noses of people who think they can tell me what I can and can't watch! And if someone can get me a copy of Parallel magazine to take with me I'll burn it outside The Playhouse in protest at you do gooders!

    Report this comment

    Dean Cooper Elston

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • whomever it was that wrote this play needs to take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror and realise that they are indeed not funny.thats my final thought on the matter.edna.

    Report this comment

    Whiley's Mum

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • I dont want some bitter, interfering busy body telling me what I can or cannot watch I have a brain and am capable of making my own choices. This woman has achieved two things, 1.great publicity for the Norwich playhouse. 2. Makingherself look pettyminded and foolish.

    Report this comment

    Realistic Rob

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Well said doddy - I couldnt agree more. Madam, run our own life -AND DON'T INTERFERE IN MINE. There are too may people like you around, trying to dictate to everyone , so but out! I am an o.a.p., and the way this country's going, grateful for it.

    Report this comment

    biglingers

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Free publicity for the show or her not very popular magazine? Who the ell does she think she is thinking she can tell people what they can or cant watch?

    Report this comment

    Piranha24

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • As an adult I would be grateful if I could make my own choice to be able to see a show or not, I would also like to say that me and my husband have actually seen this show and its the funniest thing we have seen in ages, great stuff keep up the good work, if you don't like something don't go but don't enforce your opinions on other people.

    Report this comment

    Wine Lover

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Fine by me I guess, can we have a pantomime about Fred West - The Yorkshire Ripper - Jimmy Savile then? A play by all means BUT a pantomime? I also think the EDP should at least spell Pantomime correctly in the title. Is this the standard of our press?

    Report this comment

    GSXR

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Some free publicity for what is a fairly crude comedy, ticket sales must be slow....

    Report this comment

    J Bylth

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Ah where to start....I find it irritating that someone can comment and start a petition on a play that they have not watched. I happen to know the cast and crew have worked extremely hard to put together an alternative adult Pantomime that entertains people. Yes I agree the subject matter could be considered risque but its supposed to be satire. I'm sure Monty Python touched on some historical events with some amusement, then there was Sweeny Todd the Musical....hey whilst were at it shall we ban all productions of Oliver as they portray a creepy man grooming children into a life of crime. I've looked at the petition form on Sophie's page and find it interesting that it has alot of facts and figures about rape which is obviously a terrible experience for anyone. However, Since when did this come into the topic? Historical documents will show from investigations there was no evidence of rape from Jack the Ripper. Sounds like young Sophie needs to check her historical facts in between watching Teletubbies before throwing false information around. This sounds like a bored call centre worked trying to get some attention. Oh by the way Sophie could you not pose in the grumpy arm folded manner that is shown in this article photo as its reminding people of a gangster rapper pose, I wouldn't want people to get influenced into a life of crime portrayed in some rap songs ;-).....chill out, if you don't like the material don't watch the play. Spooky Kid Productions, have a great performance and don't let an attention seeking girl take away the hard work you've put into putting together an entertaining show......annnnnd cue backlash to this comment :-)

    Report this comment

    NorwichRock

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Looks like Miss Elliot is posing her best soar face for the cameras. If you don't agree - don't go and leave others to enjoy it. if nobody want's to see the show then it will close anyway. let's face it horror is entertainment whether Halloween, scary movies or The Norwich dungeons. I grew up on Punch and Judy, Tom and Jerry and roadrunner - can't say I've ever dropped a rock on a wild animal or smacked a cat over the head with a saucepan - I have however hit the wife with a sausage a few times!

    Report this comment

    Jonno65

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • She'll be burning books next

    Report this comment

    Grigio

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • So I have been on the change.org website getting ready for my ban Violence in theatre petition and came across Miss Elliott's. The word 'Rape' is mentioned 9 times along with stats about this for the last year. To my understanding the Ripper never raped anyone or at least this wasn't mentioned in the postmortems. Also there is clamoring about domestic violence too but again the Ripper whoever they were, didn't undertake in the that either. So if this the fundamental argument for banning this 'Panto '(Pantomime (informally panto) is a type of musical comedy stage production) she is way off base.

    images

    Report this comment

    DeePee

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Dean Cooper Elston: whoever you are, that is one of the best posts I have ever read. Particularly the last bit about hangovers. I suggest the lady with the big gob goes to see Coriolanus - then she'd have something to complain about.

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • 250 supporters out of a population of almers quarter of a million in Norwich and its suburbs?? Hardly a landslide. Like many this young lady appears to believe in free speech and choise as long as the choice is hers. If she is offended then she should not go , but she has no right to try and stop others. Someone else looking for her 5 minutes of fame I think

    Report this comment

    Realistic Rob

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • I like Tom and Jerry and the Road-runner... also hope there are some tickets left for this show and I will probably enjoy it just for the h*ll of it... as others, I am sick and tired of people trying to ban things that I may like, as others have said "if you don't want to see it don't go". And even worse than this show, or any other show, the one thing I really hate is : Flaming Call Centres. They are a real nuisance ringing at all hours, if fact I need to start a campaign to get them banned...

    Report this comment

    Mr T

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • I've got my tickets I expect the evening to be a cut above the rest

    Report this comment

    doddy

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Looks like Whiley's mum is another do gooder

    Report this comment

    doddy

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • this show shouldnt be allowed to go ahead it is a terrible idea for a play and even more so for a comedy.i four one will be avoiding the theatre when it is on and i will also be singing the petiton to. it seems sick to me that anyone would want to glorify these tragic deaths which are still unexplanined to this very day.dont buy a ticket and if you have dont go out of demonstration.edna

    Report this comment

    Whiley's Mum

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Miss Elliot is just another do gooder trying to run our lives, the world is full of these p.arasites. MIND YOUR OWN BLOODY BUSINESS

    Report this comment

    doddy

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • How does she know what the content of the show is if she hasn't seen it? For all she knows it might be very cleverly critical of violence to women. Humour can be a very powerful tool for promoting positive social change. To say you should never make comedy about tragic events is ludicrous. The early days of World War Two were rather dark so should the writers of Dads Army have said "Oh dear perhaps we had better not set this in war time?"

    Report this comment

    Cyril the Canary

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • I don't like the X Factor, The Jeremy Kyle Show, reality T.V. Shows, musicals whether it be about about serial killers or any other subject as well as misogynist magazines or feminist magazines like Parallel! So I don't watch or read them. I'm not keen on headaches so I avoid hitting myself over the head with a hammer! I can't stand hangovers! So I either don't drink or I have a large alcoholic beverage for breakfast! It's my choice!

    Report this comment

    Dean Cooper Elston

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking to change perceptions of how it is acceptable to portray violence and sexual offences against any sex, but knee jerk reactions are never a good idea. I can't see that she has seen the full script or has concrete evidence that the production makes light of the ripper murders. Maybe there is a misunderstanding about the use of the subject for pantomime-but that does not necessarily mean jokes and slapstick, it can be macabre exaggeration. The young lady's job is irrelevant to her objections, she may be an able graduate marking time between more appropriate employment-even if not she is entitled to her opinion. But in the long term uphill plod to change the effect on attitudes to women of 1500 years of religion endorsed male empowerment in the western world , the wise know that battles have to be chosen carefully, even little ones.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Green Ink makes an excellent point: If you think this show will offend you, simply do not buy a ticket to see it. I find this stance incredibly effective in avoiding things I do not like the look off. Do not act as a self appointed authority on what will or will not offend or have an adverse influence on others and attempt to sanitise theatre to your taste.

    Report this comment

    BigAl

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • I don't like the X Factor! I find it degrading to real musicians who write and perform their own material! So what do I do? I don't watch it! I don't like talentless wannabe's on reality T.V. shows! So what do I do? I don't watch them. I don't like The Jeremy Vile Show oops slip of the tongue I mean The Jeremy Kyle Show! So what do I do? I don't watch it! I don't like some comedians for the material they perform! So what do I do? I don't go to see them perform! I don't like religion! So what do I do? I don't go to church! I don't like piccalilli! So what do I do? I don't eat it! I don't like musicals whether it be about about serial killers or any other subject! So what do I do? I don't go to see them! I don't like watching male strippers! So what do I do? I don't watch them! I don't like misogynist magazines or feminist magazines like Parallel! So what do I do? I don't read them! I don't like splitting headaches! So what do I do? I don't hit myself over the head with a hammer! I don't like hangovers! So what do I do! I either don't drink or I have a large alcoholic beverage for breakfast! It's my choice!

    Report this comment

    Dean Cooper Elston

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • How is this different from the fictional works cited? Because the "Ripper" murders actually happened in the East End of London in and were particularly hideous, sexually motivated attacks where the victims were left with their wombs and internal organs draped across their bodies. That's how.

    Report this comment

    galrita

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Let the public decide. If you want to go, that`s up to you. If you don`t, then don`t go. Its as simple as that. What these self appointed protesters fail to realise is that the free publicity this has generated will ensure the show is a sell out. The organisers ought to send her a bunch of flowers as a thank you.

    Report this comment

    Hereandthere

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Who in their right mind would want to buy a ticket for what seems to be the glorification of the sordid activity of murdering fellow human beings? All I can think is they have a very unbalanced view of life.

    Report this comment

    Green Ink from Tunbridge Wells

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • I'm going to start a petition to ban all killing in the theatre. So called classics such as Hamlet and Macbeth will no longer been seen. Productions such as Starlight Express and Cats will be the norm. Does any of the characters die in the Lion King?

    Report this comment

    DeePee

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • El84 - what are you smoking?

    Report this comment

    Dick Turnip

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Ignoring the obvious humour in the fact that she works in a call centre & feels she has a right to criticise others choice of employment. How different is this to other pantomimes?? Babes in the Woods for example which was first printed by Norwich man Thomas Millington is about two children who are abandoned in the woods & who as a result die. And what about the Theatre Royals Cinderella?? Does she find a step mother trying to kill a young girl acceptable or the fact that in the original story the dwarfs demand that Snow white work for them to be acceptable?? This female is clearly very selective about how she chooses to view things.

    Report this comment

    el84

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Anyone want a race?? We can both cover exactly the same distance, I will run on a clear grass field & you can run a obstacle course. Path loss on a radio signal is not just about distance & a non linear

    Report this comment

    el84

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • I just want to say that I am in fact running a change.org petition to put a stop to all killing in the theatre. No more Macbeth, Hamlet or any other so classics, it's all obscene filth. So let just enjoy Starlight Express and Cats. Does any of the characters die in the Lion King?

    Filth!

    Report this comment

    DeePee

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • I get offended by the musical cats, it provides an unrealistic depiction of cats. BAN IT!

    Report this comment

    Mooseyt8

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • I am going to complain about Les Miserables. I am not sure why yet, but I am going to find something to take offense at. Then it's on to Shrek The Musical...did you see them mocking small people ! The injustice, the shame, I am so angry, I might just have to grab an ethically sourced, organic latte and go and complain to someone.

    Report this comment

    pieman77

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • @andy, so someone who murdered people is a good basis for producing a comedy! How sick!!!. What about Sweeney Todd, Dracula, war based comedy films.......bit narrow minded to just pick on a single production, if you don't agree you don't have to watch it, and let's face it if you hadn't read this articale you proberly didn't even know it was being show.n.

    Report this comment

    Cromer cranky

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • Regional theatre luvvies with delusions of grandeur.

    Report this comment

    One Horse Town

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • It's been shown in three years previously in Norwich without anyone calling it misogynistic. Clips are available on YouTube so people can make up their own minds. Life is not a Disney cartoon musical, all sweetness and light, and comedy is invariably about tragedy, so this is a panto that mocks the genre, includes the normal elements of a panto and is aimed at an adult audience. Go and see it and make up your own mind.

    Report this comment

    So_Many_Haters!

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

  • So someone who murdered people is a good basis for producing a comedy! How sick!!!!

    Report this comment

    andy

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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