Maxine Peake ‘cancels’ fake play at Amnesty HQ in solidarity with Gaza theatre
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Maxine Peake ‘cancels’ fake play at Amnesty HQ in solidarity with Gaza theatre

Creator of the play, Ahmed Masoud, writes to ticket holders saying "there was never a play or a show, I didn’t write it and Maxine never rehearsed it.."

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Poster for a play that  Maxine Peake has cancelled to highlight the plight of Palestinian playwrights and other artists targeted by the Israeli authorities. (Photo credit: Amnesty International UK/PA Wire)
Poster for a play that Maxine Peake has cancelled to highlight the plight of Palestinian playwrights and other artists targeted by the Israeli authorities. (Photo credit: Amnesty International UK/PA Wire)

Actress Maxine Peake has ‘cancelled’ a fake London performance of a show written by a Palestinian playwright as a stunt to support people in Gaza.

Peake, a well-known as a supporter of Palestinian causes, was due to appear in a scheduled one-person play written by Ahmed Masoud, called Obliterated. It was to be held at Amnesty International’s London headquarters on August 9.

However, in an email sent to those who had reserved free tickets, Masoud wrote: “There was never a play or a show, I didn’t write it and Maxine never rehearsed it..”

The play was supposedly the story of a British lawyer, married to a Palestinian, who becomes stuck in Gaza after she tries to find him when he goes missing.

Peake announced the one-night-only performance was cancelled, declaring that “art should not be targeted by soldiers”. It was due to be held to mark the first anniversary of the destruction by an Israeli airstrike of the Mishal Cultural Centre in Gaza, which they described as “the only working theatre in Gaza”.

Masoud said his his email to ticket-holders, he wanted to invite “the 2529 people who booked, to be part of this experience, to be angry at this injustice.

Poster for a play that Maxine Peake has cancelled to highlight the plight of Palestinian playwrights and other artists targeted by the Israeli authorities. (Photo credit: Amnesty International UK/PA Wire)

“I would like to thank Maxine Peake and Amnesty International UK for supporting this creative response”

Amnesty International responded to Jewish News’, when asked if they stood by supporting the event, saying: “Ahmed and Maxine created an art experience which was an important statement of solidarity with beleaguered artists in Gaza, and we are proud to support them in highlighting the harsh everyday realities confronting anyone involved in the arts in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

A spokesperson from Eventbrite, the ticketing provider the organisers of this play used to sell their tickets, confirmed that the organisers were in breach of the company’s community guidelines with regards to inauthentic content. Eventbrite informed the organisers that their event had been removed from the platform”.

The IDF said — after the five-storey building was flattened last August — that the centre was being “used by the Hamas terror organisation for military purposes”.

The attack prompted an open letter to the Guardian from a number of leading writers and directors in British theatre, including the playwright Caryl Churchill and the artistic directors of the Royal Court Theatre, the Royal Lyceum Theatre and the English Touring Theatre.

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