The stage production at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena stars Scott Sutcliffe as Aladdin, Coronation Street star Connor McIntyre as Abanazar and The Voice contestant Kelsey Beth Crossley as Princess Jasmine. Actor Nigel Beaver appears as the Emperor.
In the Disney classic, Aladdin is set in the fictional city of Agrabah on the banks of the Jordan River.
A synopsis on Bantu’s website reads: ‘Join our hero Aladdin, his widowed mother Twinkie and brother Wishee Washee as they embark on a magical adventure and try to defeat the evil Abanzar and his plan to become lord of the world.
“With the help of the Genie of the Lamp and the Spirit of the Ring, will Aladdin save the day and marry the beautiful Princess Jasmine?”
A trailer for the show was reportedly tweeted by the arena before it was deleted, and it is said to have featured a character using the line: “Come over to our eastern town.”
Many in the Asian community feel that the term “Oriental” is archaic and derogatory.
Actor Irvin Iqbal – who played the Sultan in the West End version of Aladdin – was among those leading calls for a ‘conversation’ about the casting process in the theatre industry.
He tweeted: “The ALL white cast in an Aladdin production where the lyrics are ‘Come to our eastern city.’” Unfortunately, @MandSBankArena deleted its promotional video, so here’s part of how poorly their production is represented in #Sameful.
“ALL white cast in an Aladdin production where the lyrics to ‘Come on our Oriental Town’ are in the diverse city of LiverpoolMandSBankArena This is diverse Britain!” added later.
Benjamin Armstrong, who also starred in the West End show playing the character Rumi, said he was disgusted by the acting.
“I’m talking about casting real Aladdin Pantos, but this goes beyond that,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that the lines on the show were “100 percent utter racism.” There is no justification.’
The UK Pantomime Society recalled the show and said in a statement: ‘UKPantomime and @panto_day are champions of pantomime and take seriously the need for innovation and progress in the sector, including the selection of appropriate actors from the global majority, and the removal of racial stereotypes that have been photographed historically.
We’ve been shown productions of Aladdin that use racial stereotypes. There is no place for such acting, writing and directing in today’s pantomime industry.
The UK Pantomime Society will hold its first annual Pantomime Symposia in collaboration with Staffordshire University in February 2023 and can confirm there will be a committee addressing inclusivity, diversity and representation.
According to Mail Online, the Shone Productions behind panto said its award calls are being posted on Spotlight, dubbed the UK’s largest resource.
They added: ‘Our ads are open to all races. We have a diverse company of performers and crew behind the scenes across all of our pantomimes. Our performers are selected based on their strength and ability for each role.
“We are anxious to ensure our organization is represented, and we will take feedback on board.”
Metro.co.uk has reached out to Shone Productions for comment.
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#Aladdin #Bantus #allwhite #Liverpool #team #shameful