The Family Sex Show, an educational theatre production aimed at children, has been axed after the venue said its staff had been subjected to “unprecedented threats and abuse”.
The show, which covers themes such as gender, consent, pleasure, queerness and masturbation, was due to open at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory in May.
Not only has the show been pulled from that venue, it has also been axed from the Norfolk and Norwich Festival after the show’s creators also received abuse themselves. Just an invite-only event at The Egg in Bath is now going ahead.
More than 39,000 people signed a petition calling for it to be cancelled. The petition argued that the show is “wholly inappropriate and is a blatant attempt to sexualise children and break down their natural boundaries”.
It added: “There is no difference between taking children to The Family Sex Show and taking them to a seedy peep show or strip club!”
In a statement, the Tobacco Factory said: “Performances of The Family Sex Show by ThisEgg at Tobacco Factory Theatres have been cancelled.
“This is due to the unprecedented threats and abuse directed at our building and team.
“We are sorry for the disappointment this causes to those who’ve booked. You will be contacted and refunds will be made available.”
The Family Sex Show, which was marketed as being for children from the age of five, was made with input and guidance from educational and safeguarding specialists.
ThisEgg, the company that made the show, wrote a Twitter thread in response to the news, which reads in part: “It is regrettable that violent and illegal threats and abuse directed at the company and venues by a small group of people with extremist views has prevented families from opting to attend something that was transparent, consensual and legal.”
The Family Sex Show: Cancelled before it opened - where do we go from here?
A short (ish) thread...
— ThisEgg (@ThisEgg_) April 19, 2022
The Family Sex Show has divided people on Twitter, with one critic writing: “I can’t believe anyone thought this show would be appropriate for children.”
Another wrote of the cancellation: “This is a win for parents protecting their children and a loss for the predators and groomers that are after British children.”
On the other side of the debate, one person said: “Sending love and support and hope for the future of the show.”
Another added: “Wow some people are really scared of educating around sex sexuality gender and body rights. Sad that.”
In an interview with The Guardian in early March, creator Josie Dale-Jones had said she anticipated a backlash to the show. “We know we will get people who don’t want it to happen,” she said.
“There aren’t many of them, but they shout loudly. The main thing is looking after the company, the venues, their staff and the audiences.”