The controversial play Behzti, which angered members of the Sikh community and sparked a mini-riot at the weekend has been pulled out of Birmingham’s Repertory Theatre.
Demonstrators said the performance of Behzti – depicting murder and sex abuse in a fictional Sikh temple – demeaned their religion. Birmingham Rep was stormed by protesters, who damaged doors, set off fire alarms and attacked equipment during Saturday’s performance.
Officials were keen to avoid a repeat of the scenes, which left three police officers hurt, at subsequent performances. Stuart Rogers, the Rep’s executive director, said: “It is now clear that we cannot guarantee the safety of our audiences. “Very reluctantly, therefore, we have decided to end the current run of the play purely on safety grounds.”
Behzti, written by actress-turned-playwright Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti – herself a Sikh – was due to run at the Rep until the end of December. It explores issues of sexual abuse, manipulation and relationships.