Oh no Father Ted! Theatre-goers storm out over swastika use

Theatre-goers stormed out as an am-dram group recreated a Father Ted episode featuring a swastika in the run-up to the centenary of Armistice Day.

A screenshot from the episode
A screenshot from the episode

Oldbury Rep Theatre Group chose to stage a version of the ‘Are you right there Father Ted’ episode, which features Nazi memorabilia.

But some have criticised the decision to choose the episode, particularly around Remembrance Day.

An anonymous theatre-goer told the Express & Star: “There are loads of episodes of Father Ted for them to choose from so what made them select the one that features swastikas knowing full well that the week ended with Armistice Day marking 100 years since the end of the First World War?

“It upset many people as the walk-outs proved. It was wholly inappropriate timing. Why did they not realise they were putting their foot in it?”

The cast of the Oldbury Rep Theatre Group

The episode, the first of the third series, sees Ted borrow a copy of Stephen King’s The Shining from a friend, Father Seamus Fitzpatrick.

Ted is surprised by Father Seamus Fitzpatrick’s sizeable collection of Nazi memorabilia – which features a swastika.

The show, which ran throughout the week and finished a day before Armistice Day on Saturday night, allegedly saw up to 32 people walk out in disgust on one night and up to 25 following suit on another day.

The theatre told the Express & Star they tried hard to emulate the hit show – which starred Dermot Morgan and Ardal O’Hanlon during the 1990s.

An Oldbury Rep Theatre spokesperson said: “We are obviously disappointed that you have been contacted by a member of the public to complain about the use of a swastika during our production.

“We tried very hard to transfer the TV series to the stage as accurately as we could and the scene came from an episode from Series 3 called 'Are you right there Father Ted.'

“In this episode Father Ted visits one of his colleagues house to be shown a room full of German War memorabilia and this included two very large swastikas as well as many other items from the second world war, we were not able to include all these items in our stage production as you would understand but did include a small swastika that we felt gave a good representation of the scene from TV episode.

“We take all comments very seriously and we do discuss all we receive at management level and will do so with this production as normal.

“The show played to a very large audience for Oldbury Rep at over 13 per cent higher than our average season attendance and we did receive many complementary emails and comments about the show.

“However we are obviously sorry if some took offence but would stress we do feel it was a true reflection of that episode.”

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