Performances of a play about the struggles of a young, gay Ugandan businessman was halted by Media Council authorities one day before its scheduled opening night at the National Theatre in Uganda’s capital, Kampala.
‘The River and The Mountain’, written by the British playwright Beau Hopkins, portrays a corporate businessman coming to
terms with his sexual identity in a climate of oppressive homophobia. It became the first ever play on the subject of sexuality to be performed in Uganda — a nation which condemns homosexuality as illegal — when it was staged at smaller venues in Uganda in August 2012.
Okuyo Joel Atiku Prynce, the actor playing the gay protagonist, told The Guardian: “We are all disappointed but not surprised that we could not perform at the National Theatre.”
The play is instead being performed at a little-known theatre in Kampala. David Cecil, one of the producers, told Associated Press that they were even banned from hanging posters at the National Theatre because the play had not been approved by the government. The Washington Post highlighted that there exists a constant fear of police raids that will shut down the production.
The East African nation’s Parliament passed a bill three years ago authorising the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’. In 2011, Ugandan gay activist David Kato was murdered in Kampala following tabloid revelations about his own sexual identity.
The Telegraph – 30 Aug 2012:
Play with a homosexual theme banned by regulators in Uganda
The National Theatre of Uganda refuses to stage The River and the Mountain, a play about the struggles of a young, gay businessman. By Rachel Coombes
Autostraddle – 22 Aug 2012:
Uganda Doesn’t Want You To See “The River and The Mountain”
The River and the Mountain, by British playwright Beau Hopkins, might be the most dangerous play in town. By Ali