Dear Sir or Madam,
Jerry Springer the Opera - Tour Venues
I understand that various theatre venues around the UK are being approached by the producers of Jerry Springer the Opera with a view to staging the production this autumn and next year. Having seen it, I can say with some feeling that the show is crude, offensive and blasphemous in the extreme. At the very least, it is not a family show and will damage the reputation of any theatre which puts it on.
You will be aware that Christian Voice organised street vigils in protest against the screening of Jerry Springer the Opera on BBC2 on 8th January. These took place outside BBC premises in London (White City - where 400-500 people attended), Cardiff, Plymouth, Norwich, Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast. In all, some 1,500 Christians came out on a cold, and in some cases a wet, Saturday night to stand up for their Lord and Saviour, mindful that He endured agonies for them when He died on a cruel cross on Calvary's hill.
You may not be aware that following the broadcast our focus shifted to the Cambridge Theatre in London's Covent Garden. That is of course where 'Springer' was recorded and where its run continued until Saturday 19th February. We have been praying, singing in praise to God and evangelising outside the Theatre by giving out leaflets like the one enclosed and engaging theatre-goers in conversation. On the last night, as the gates closed, we prayed it would not re-open anywhere else.
It was important to us to show how saddened we were that the Cambridge thought nothing of causing such gratuitous offence to the Christian community. It was also important to turn as many performances as possible into an opportunity to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and encourage theatre-goers to repent, turn from their sins, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was so spitefully ridiculed every night the show went on at the Cambridge Theatre.
It surprised us that attendance midweek at the Cambridge was patchy, and in addition to that, some of those going to see the show on Fridays and Saturdays told us they could not get to see anything else. Even on the last night, I don't think the ticket touts shifted one ticket. When going up to London people often want to 'take in a show.' 'Springer' for many poor folks appeared to be the only show they could get tickets for. In any event, it is unarguable that the show closed. My understanding is that the Broadway run might not now go ahead.
Even at the special gala performance which was staged on Friday 18th February for the cancer charity Maggie's Centres, only 200-300 people attended. Maggie's commendably distanced themselves at the last minute from any association with the show. That demonstrated how seriously they take their responsibility to raise money ethically and in ways which do not cause offence.
We are at this moment preparing charges of the criminal offence of blasphemy for service upon those responsible for broadcasting the show on BBC2, and those responsible for staging it at the Cambridge Theatre.
Should any regional theatre stage 'Jerry Springer the Opera' this autumn, we shall be looking to prosecute them as well. We shall be especially keen to prosecute since the BBC broadcast, because anyone staging the show will now be doing so as a deliberate act of provocation, knowing full well that the show is highly blasphemous and extremely offensive to Almighty God and to Christian believers.
In addition to that, many local theatres are supported by an organisation of friends or by public money, and the use of Council Tax-payers' money being used to subsidise an offensive, disgusting, blasphemous production will be hard for local Councillors to justify.
The presence of Jerry Springer the Opera anywhere in the United Kingdom brings, I believe, the judgment of God of our land, and shame on the town or city which hosts it. Out of love and concern for where they live, our members outside London will be keen to stand up for their Lord outside any Theatre which puts on Jerry Springer the Opera, by holding prayer vigils probably at shows running before the event, and certainly during any run of 'Springer' itself. I shall give them every encouragement. We are already organising meetings in those towns and citiies where it has been reported that Theatres have shown an interest. I praise God that Jerry Springer the Opera has brought evangelically-minded Christians together like nothing I have ever seen before.
I should be glad to learn from you whether or not your theatre has any plans to stage 'Jerry Springer the Opera' and if so, what stage your negotiations with the producers have reached.
Stephen Green, M.A.
National Director, Christian Voice