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El Hangar Theatre issues apology to group cancelled for political content

The apology was prompted by the controversial cancelling of the performance scheduled for this evening widely understood to be caused by some controversial content

The "Choir Project" in an image on their group's Facebook wall
The “Choir Project” in an image on their group’s Facebook wall

The Choir Project- a workshop musical group with elements of improv posted on their official Facebook wall a note it had received from Hesham Yousry, Supervisor of the Hangar Theatre. The note contained an apology for cancelling a performance scheduled for this evening as well as promised to go ahead with the event as planned.

“We do not accept restrictions on freedom of expression. The Hangar Theatre will always remain an essential proponent and ally of independent artists,” Yousry said in the note.

The apology was prompted by the controversial cancelling of the performance scheduled for this evening widely understood to be caused by some controversial content in the show that includes mocking President Mohamed Morsy.

A representative of the Choir Project posted on the group’s Facebook page apologising to their audience and confirming that the performance had been cancelled.

Elaborating, the representative said the show had been cancelled specifically for “security reasons”, and that this confirmed the bias against “independent art, particularly against any content that is anti-former or current regime”.

The post notifying of the show’s cancellation also contained snippets of a telephone conversation between the Choir Project representative and a senior official within the Hangar Theatre in which the official said he “did not want any trouble with security officials”, following issues that occurred after a show on the 31st of July that included some anti-establishment material.

The post elicited a harsh response from the group, who claimed that as “independents and volunteers”, they would not let anyone impose content upon them or monitor their activities, infringing upon their essential freedoms.

“Music brings us together and neither corruption nor authoritarianism will tear us apart,” their earlier statement read.

The apology post stirred up a considerable –though elated- buzz on the group’s Facebook page. The text of the apology also confirmed that a public apology would be made to the audience prior to the start of the performance.

Yousry also agreed to send an invitation to all interested independent artists to convene and set a framework for enduring cooperation between themselves and Hangar Theatre.

The Choir Project was started in May of 2010, initially as an offshoot of the International Complaints Choir started by two Finnish artists. It began when 25 young men and women responded to a call despite some of them having little to no experience with music or theatre. A six-day workshop culminated in a 15 minute performance that garnered hundreds of attendees and good reviews.

The show will commence at the previously agreed-upon time- 10pm- at the Hangar Theatre.

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