Tribunal rules against Seyi Omooba in Color Purple case

Seyi Omooba has lost her employment tribunal claim against Leicester Curve and Global artists in relation to the production The Color Purple.

Seyi Omooba removed from cast of The Color Purple
Seyi Omooba

Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster have today issued the following statement in relation to the employment tribunal claim made by Seyi Omooba relating to the Curve’s production of hit musical The Color Purple.

A joint statement from Chris Stafford, Chief Executive and Nikolai Foster, Artistic Director

“We wanted to share with you our response to the tribunal’s unanimous ruling regarding the recent employment tribunal against Curve.

We are pleased Seyi Omooba’s claims against Curve have been rejected by an employment tribunal. Seyi Omooba accepted a lesbian part in our production of THE COLOR PURPLE knowing full well she would refuse to play this iconic gay role as homosexual. We believe the case had no merit from the outset, and should never have been brought to the tribunal.

Unfortunately, we consider that Curve has been subject to a carefully orchestrated campaign from Seyi Omooba and Christian Concern, who have used the tribunal process- and our theatre- as an opportunity to further their case in what they describe as exposing “the mechanisms of censorship at the heart of the theatre industry, and how any dissenting views against LGBT ideology, especially Christian beliefs, are currently incompatible with a theatrical career”. We know this is not true; theatre is one of the most inclusive, joyous and diverse industries and we celebrate this across all of our work at Curve.

It has been a hugely challenging and upsetting time for all us at Curve, especially as our industry is fighting for its survival, and we would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the course of the last 20 months. In particular, we would like to thank our extraordinary THE COLOR PURPLE company- a team of talented, passionate and caring individuals who did not allow this case to impact on making the most remarkable show led by the incomparable T’Shan Williams.

We would also like to pay tribute to the wonderful support we have received from the writers of the musical, Marsha Norman, Brenda Russell, Stephen Bray and the late Allee Willis, and our thanks to the Broadway producer of the musical Scott Sanders. Our heartfelt thanks also to Steve Spiegel from Theatrical Rights Worldwide who has been a passionate supporter of our case from day one and we owe so much to him. And of course, deepest gratitude to Alice Walker; our fight was in the name of Curve, but also to protect the integrity of the character of Celie- who was based on Alice’s grandmother Rachel- and all other Celies in our world.

Finally, we would like to thank our outstanding legal team, in particular, Tom Coghlin QC and Alex Payton from Howes Percival for their dedication and tenacity in seeking justice for Curve.

We do not condone any negativity Seyi Omooba has been subjected to and we respectfully ask anyone in support of this ruling to be kind and respectful in acknowledging this victory for Curve and Celie.

We now look forward to drawing a line under this painful chapter and focusing our energies on how we rebuild our theatre after the pandemic.”

The Color Purple in concert is available to watch now.

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