Theatre relents after bishop’s complaint over poster for ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore

The 20ft banner urging people to concentrate on the play rather than the poster, which offended the Roman Catholic Bishop of Leeds.   Pictures: Simon Hulme.
The 20ft banner urging people to concentrate on the play rather than the poster, which offended the Roman Catholic Bishop of Leeds. Pictures: Simon Hulme.
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a controversial 20ft banner featuring a statue of the Virgin Mary next to the word “whore” has been taken down from West Yorkshire Playhouse – but 500 posters with the same image and words will stay on display around the theatre and Leeds.

The poster for the Playhouse’s production ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore has caused controversy, with the Roman Catholic Bishop of Leeds writing to the theatre asking the posters be removed.

The Playhouse yesterday relented – to a point.

The publicity image for the play, used on leaflets, brochures and posters, features a replica of The Pieta, a statue of Mary holding Jesus in her arms after he was taken down from the cross.

A banner measuring 20ft by 9ft featuring the image, which hung on the side of the theatre opposite Leeds bus station, was removed yesterday morning and replaced with a banner which reads: “Judge the Play, Not the Poster”. The 1633 John Ford play was years ahead of its time, featuring at its heart an incestuous relationship between a brother and sister.

A spokesman for the Playhouse said: “After much deliberation we made the decision to replace the banner. We regret the offence this was never our intention. The validity and relevance of the image remains and will still be seen on promotional material.”