The Christian Institute

News Release

Tyneside Christians to rally against Springer hate opera

Christians from churches across Tyneside are set to gather for a peaceful protest outside the Theatre Royal in Newcastle on the opening night of the controversial musical, Jerry Springer The Opera. On Monday 1 May (6.30pm to 7.30pm) Christians are expected to congregate opposite the Theatre Royal to sing hymns in a display of Christian unity and to stand up for the Christian faith.

Last week, leaders from over 40 churches in Tyneside wrote to the Theatre Royal and city councillors condemning the decision to host the show. This follows hundreds of protest letters from concerned Christians and widespread public support for a month long anti-Springer leafleting campaign outside the theatre.

Speaking today, Clive Harding, Senior Pastor of International Harvest Church, Newcastle, said: “I hope Christians will come along and sing with us to show patrons of the show what Christianity is really about. I still can’t quite believe this show is being staged here at public expense. Newcastle City Council owns this theatre. It wouldn’t dream of staging a show which spent an hour attacking – for fun – the beliefs of any other religion. I’m sure it must breach the Council’s own equality policy. Yet they are backing it to the hilt.”

Revd. David Holloway, Vicar of Jesmond, said: “I hope Monday’s demonstration is a success. There must be freedom of speech but for ideas not blasphemy. In a free society the church accepts public denials regarding Jesus Christ as it can argue for the truth about him. But public wilful and relentless abuse of Jesus Christ, as in this production, has no place in a civilized society – hence our moderate blasphemy laws. As this production breaks those laws and as council-tax payers subsidize the Theatre Royal, the management of the theatre seems to be illegally spending money to shock and outrage a large body of Christian council tax payers (as well as people of other faiths and none). This is serious.”

Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said: “Monday evening is an opportunity for Christians to stand up in a peaceful way for what they believe in. Not only is the show offensive for its extreme language and sexual references, it is spitefully prejudiced against the Christian faith. I am appalled that a publicly funded body should be so contemptuous of Christians.”

For further comment on the response to the show from local churches contact:

  1. Clive Harding, Senior Pastor of International Harvest Church, Newcastle on 0191 273 9272. Pastor Harding will also be available for interview outside the Theatre Royal from 5.30pm on 1 May.
  2. Revd. David Holloway, Vicar of Jesmond Parish Church, Newcastle on 0191 281 2001