Pop-up Globe has announced it won't stage Shakespeare productions this season with all-male casts.
The decision, announced this afternoon, follows a troubled 10 days for the company which was slammed for using the #MeToo and #Timesup movements in marketing for its next season. The season was to include an all-male cast in The Taming of the Shrew, which Pop-up Globe described as Shakespeare's most proto-feminist play, and Richard III.
In a brief statement, the company said:
"At Pop-up Globe we strive to make work that brings unity, joy and hope.
"The response to our upcoming Auckland season has made us think about how we can do this better. So we're making a change.
"From today we are making a commitment to cast equal numbers of male and female actors for every new Auckland season.
"In the 2018/19 Auckland season of The Taming of the Shrew, Richard III, Measure for Measure and Hamlet, 14 women and 14 men will make up two 50:50 gender-balanced casts.
"In any future seasons we will work within this commitment to increase the quality, quantity and diversity of the work we produce, celebrating and sharing the magic of Shakespeare's plays.
"There may be different gender balances for individual productions, but there will be 50:50 gender balance on stage during a season.
"We appreciate this is a change to our published casting. Thank you to everyone who has given us their feedback. We're very grateful."
The theatre company's founder artistic director Dr Miles Gregory had already issued a public apology after #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, along with a reference to disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, to promote Auckland shows in November.
He said it had become "very clear"that the company's announcement had caused offence and "upset many people, some deeply".
"This was not my intention. I am very sorry, and wish to offer a heartfelt apology for the offence that my words have caused," he said.
Gregory was not available for further comment, but a spokeswoman said it would not impact on casting decisions as actors were yet to be chosen for the November productions.
• If you purchased a ticket to The Taming of the Shrew or Richard III and wish to have a refund contact Eventfinda on 0800 BUY TIX (289 849) or email@example.com. See popupglobe.co.nz for terms and conditions.