Isis play Homegrown sparks censorship debate after NYT cancels it for 'quality reasons'

Cast members have taken to Twitter to complain about their 'voices being silenced'

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A controversial play about radicalised young people joining Isis has been cancelled without warning just two weeks before its opening night.

National Youth Theatre production Homegrown was axed for "quality reasons" but director Nadia Latif and playwright Omar El-Khairy are blaming external pressure and a "landscape of fear" for the decision.

A statement from the NYT read: "“The production of Homegrown will no longer go ahead. After some consideration, we have come to the conclusion that we cannot be sufficiently sure of meeting all of our aims to the standards we set and which our members and audiences have come to expect. All purchased tickets will be fully refunded.”

Homegrown previously lost its original venue after Tower Hamlets Council branded a Bethnal Green school an "insensitive" location to perform in when it is less than a mile from the Bethnal Green Academy, attended by the three girls who left Britain to become Jihadi brides in Syria earlier this year.

The team settled on UCL Academy in Swiss Cottage instead, and planned to have the audience walk along a school corridor overhearing pupils talking for an immersive experience.

Now, Latif and El-Khairy believe the police and local authorities have played a part in cancelling their show, while some of the cast took to Twitter to voice their anger and disappointment.

"There must have been some extraordinary external pressure to cancel the production - to justify that emotional trauma on a cast of 112 young people," Latif told the Guardian.

"This show was about having an intelligent conversation around an issue that has hysteria attached, and instead voices have been silenced with no explanation and without the content ever being seen because of this landscape of fear that we live in."

El-Khairy added that he thinks "something very extreme must have happened" to prompt the cancellation.

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