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The Blue Room rejects the Colour Blue

If you are WAAPA graduate in Perth, chances are that your next stop is the Blue Room Theatre. 

“The Blue Room Theatre has been the creative hub of Western Australia’s independent theatre scene for more than 30 years, centrally located at the heart of the Perth Cultural Centre.”

The Blue Room do wonderful work and provide great opportunities for emerging artists. 

The Blue Room also have an Equity and Justice Plan inclusive of an online pledge. 

“Our Equity and Justice Pledge commits us to ensuring that we accurately reflect and celebrate our Western Australia community, not only through the artistic work we present, but in all areas of our organisation.”

Here are some snippets from the plan:

  • Through this Equity & Justice Action Plan we will expand the community of people who feel like they belong at The Blue Room Theatre. This is a commitment to implementing practical actions that will reduce the barriers for people from underrepresented groups to participate in our organisation and programs. Through our actions we aspire to achieve real change within The Blue Room Theatre, and for this change to contribute to a more inclusive arts sector that is representative of the people and experiences in our society.
  • Bringing this plan to life will ensure that The Blue Room Theatre will continue to thrive and serve its vital purpose as a key arts and cultural institution that empowers artists to share works and stories that reflects us all.
  • Community – We are an inclusive and accessible organisation; practicing equity, justice and mutual respect.
  • Inclusivity and diversity is woven into the fabric of society A multi-tier action and systems-based approach is needed to work towards breaking down societal barriers.
  • Creating a welcoming environment for all The Blue Room Theatre can be intimidating and exclusive to new people. There is a need to understand a broader range of cultural and accessibility norms.
  • We commit to implementing safe and inclusive practices. We commit to being generous and open hearted.
  • GOAL 3: TO SUSTAIN A THRIVING AND ACCOUNTABLE ORGANISATION

Equity & Justice Outcomes:

  • People from underrepresented communities/groups/backgrounds…. do not feel marginalised by, or disadvantaged at, The Blue Room Theatre – they feel welcome, invited and included.

Today some of the Jewish performers at The Blue Room may however feel anything but welcome, invited and included.  Because if they display empathy or solidarity with the blue of the flag of Israel they may well be marginalised.   Inclusivity it would appear applies to anybody except for Jews.

Take for example this statement issued under the name of the Theatre and plastered onto their walls and social media:

Blue Room

The allegations of genocide, war crimes, apartheid, occupation, starvation, oppression are all false slurs on Israel.  The October 7 massacre and war crime of taking hostages are not mentioned.

From the River to the Sea is a statement lifted from the Hamas Charter that is a call for the elimination of Israel. 

And they literally quote the misleading figures of the Gaza Health Ministry, who are an arm of Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organistion in Australia

Sorry Blue Room – you cannot condemn anti-Semitism whilst publishing statements that are anti-Semitic! 

There are debates raging across the arts and culture sector of Australia relating to political activism and virtue signalling.  Whether it is literary festivals, the cancelling of Jewish comedy shows, or the infamous pro-Palestinian scarf protest during an encore of the Seagull play at the Sydney Theatre show, Jewish performers and patrons are being marginalised.  Jewish philanthropists of the arts are withdrawing funding, board members are resigning, and public support is waning as a result of the woke protests and use of theatrical venues to make inappropriate political statements.

Surely it is against the credo and policies of the Blue Room Theatre to sanction, let alone publish politically motivated and antagonistic material that is lacking in context and is well beyond their core artistic objectives?

Amongst the financial supporters of the Blue Room Theatre are organisations including the Australian Government, Australia Council for the Arts, Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural industries, Lotterywest, and the City of Perth.  These are public bodies that are allocating public funds.  Surely it is also against the funding requirements of these organisations to provide support to organisations that engage in the promotion of hate speech?

Whilst the pro-Palestinian cause has reached many areas of discourse in Western Australia, there are no other public art galleries, arts and cultural organisations that I am aware of that have issued political statements in relation to the Gaza conflict.  Whilst individuals within those organisations have the right to their own political opinions, they are not as entities taking a corporate position on a matter that is well beyond their remit.

The Management and Board of The Blue Room Theatre need to take immediate action to retract this statement.  The display of these materials or any other advocacy that leads to an unsafe/intimidatory environment for their Jewish students and patrons is unacceptable and in breach of their own published equity and justice pledge.   Their job is to promote art and culture, free from political influence, and free from racial vilification. 

Equity and Justice for all!  We believe everybody deserves dignity, freedom and safety from oppression and discrimination…… Except for the supporters of Israel.  Israel, facing an existential war against terrorism, according to the Blue Room Theatre needs to be eliminated as a Jewish nation State.  It’s people, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, need to massacred out of existence.  Because this is what the regime of Gaza have vowed to do again and again.  And this is the community harmony and cultural expression that our public money is supporting through the Blue Room Theatre Statement of Solidarity.

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