A University of Washington theatre was defaced with neo-Nazi recruitment posters during a performance of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It February 15, according to the Seattle newspaper The Stranger.
The production features non-traditional casting of the major roles, though it was not clear if that was the reason for the defacement. The production is scheduled to continue through February 19 at the Glenn Hughes Theatre in Seattle.
Eight of the posters, which bear a swastika, a skull and phrases including “Where will you be when the race war begins?” and “Join your local Nazis! Congregating near you!” were glued to the theatre’s front doors, apparently with spray adhesive, during the first act of Wednesday evening’s performance.
Campus police were summoned and Prof. Todd London, executive director of the UW School of Drama, has requested that the police provide heightened security around the theatre.
London told Playbill.com “We are going ahead with the run of the show. The university has added a police patrol of the theatre and the school of drama has added faculty and staff for each performance.”
He added, “The sad fact of this hateful situation is that there is no indication that the School of Drama or this particular production were targeted, or that the neo-Nazi(s) who plastered the fliers on the theatre even knew what was going on onstage inside the theatre. In fact, these fliers were put up elsewhere on campus that same night and there were no pictures or posters outside the theatre announcing the nature of the production. The situation has been misreported by a sloppy press and un-informed bloggers, however, thus increasing unwanted attention on the show and adding stress to the students involved. This kind of strain is the last thing artists in training need when they’re trying to find the sense of safety and freedom necessary to the artist.”
The paper had quoted student actor Tamsen Glaser, who plays Jacques, saying “It was terrifying because all the leads are people of color...and a wide [number] of our audience are people of color. We have people playing LGBTQ characters and that's a huge portion of our audience as well. It didn’t seem arbitrary.”
Similar posters reportedly have been appearing on the UW campus and environs for several months, and one professor not connected with the production was harassed after posting on Facebook that he and his students had torn them down.