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Indiana High Schoolers Bravely Perform LGBTQ-Inclusive Play Despite School’s Ban

Indiana High Schoolers Bravely Perform LGBTQ-Inclusive Play Despite School’s Ban

A theatre stage with two people in top hats holding the curtain.

The school system said students couldn’t perform the queer-inclusive piece because of safety concerns, so they raised $85K and the show went on anyway.

A group of Indiana high school students proved their school district wrong when it barred them from performing an LGBTQ-inclusive play, citing safety concerns. Outraged at the school leadership’s censorship, the teens banded together and, with the help of sympathetic community members, raised nearly $90,000. Then, they let the show go on without a hitch.

Students at Carroll High School in Fort Wayne were excited to perform Adam Szymkowicz’s Marian, or The True Tale of Robin Hood, a queer version of Sherwood Forest and its merry group of thieves. However, some parents complained to the school district and said that portraying homosexuality onstage was sinful, The Washington Postreports.

After school leadership informed the theater troupe that safety concerns prevented them from performing the play, students were shocked.

Rather than allowing themselves to be bullied into censorship, several students still found a way to stage the play.

Initially, some drama students spoke in front of their school district’s leaders but did not succeed in reversing the ban. So instead, 18-year-old Tristan Wasserman contacted local media and others, including a playwright, for support.

When a 40-year-old former teacher and Fort Wayne native, Nathan Gotsch, heard about the students’ challenges, he decided to get involved and offered to step in as producer.

To make the production happen, Gotsch worked with several student producers.

Almost $85,000 was raised within two weeks after he started a GoFundMe account. With those funds, the team secured a professional venue and services.

It took two dozen students to perform Marian. A crew was hired to manage the stage, engineer the sets, perform sound, create costumes, and handle lighting. In addition, security for the May 20 performance at Foellinger Theatre was coordinated with Indiana State Police and Indiana State Parks personnel.

Between advanced placement tests and final exams, the cast of students had about 40 hours to rehearse the play before bringing the words on the page to life before an audience.

Ultimately, the production went off without incident. There were no interruptions and no detractors.

Instead, about 1,500 people bought tickets to watch the show, and the actors received nothing but support.

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