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Theatre group in copyright drama

29 September 2004

An amateur drama group has been given the right to stage a play despite being threatened with a copyright lawsuit by a major London theatre.

The BBC and IPKat both report that the drama group, based at Alrewas, Staffordshire, was busy rehearsing its production of ĎOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nestí when it was told to abandon the show by the Gielgud, one of the West Endís largest theatres.

The Gielgud stated that the small regional rendition of the play might interfere with the impact of their London production which had already received strong reviews in the Edinburgh Festival, and stars well-known actors Christian Slater, Frances Barber and Mackenzie Crook. To this end, they had placed an embargo around the play preventing other performances of it during their own theatrical run.

Director Paula Dumolo said: "I was completely horrified when I found out, because we were into rehearsals big time.

"We had booked the Garrick Theatre in Lichfield, tickets had gone on sale and advertising was just about to go out."

The drama group emailed the playís author, Dale Wasserman, who promptly gave them full performing rights to the script. The Gielgud Theatreís copyright agents have since clarified that the embargo applies to the London area only.

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