Halloween play cancelled - Nazi references 'inappropriate'

By Jessica Elgot, October 27, 2011
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Pendennis Castle - where the play would have been performed

Pendennis Castle - where the play would have been performed

A playwright has cancelled his Halloween ghost tours performances, which have parts set during the Second World War, because the body that commissioned the work, English Heritage, did not want him to focus on the Nazis or Jews.

Rod Tinson, who has written for Radio 4, said English Heritage had insisted that he make changes to his play, which was to be performed as part of Halloween celebrations at Pendennis Castle in Falmouth, Cornwall.

The play contained scenes from different periods in the castle’s history, and one which involved a British Jewish soldier. The man is seen voicing fears for the safety of his relatives, who are still in Nazi-occupied Poland.

But Mr Tinson claimed he was asked to tone down elements which dealt with the dangers that Jews faced from the Nazis.

He said: “They said it was 'inappropriate' for an English Heritage audience. I was specifically told when I was commissioned to write for the 'Ghost Tours' that this should be a play set in different areas of the castle, that would be of documentary interest. I was told it should not be cheesy pantomime.

"The scene I was asked to change is the final scene, the men are discussing their fears about a Nazi invasion. It's part of the history of the castle, which was used during the war. I am extremely disappointed, it's a peculiar, sanitised version of history."

An English Heritage spokesperson denied that was the case: "English Heritage does not 'sanitise history' as anyone who looks at our guidebooks and the interpretation at the sites in our care will see. Visitors to Pendennis Castle get a comprehensive history of the site. It's just that Mr Tinson's play was not what we had in mind for our Halloween ghost tour."

Charlie Fear, events manager at Pendennis Castle, said: "It's unfortunate that we've had to pull Mr Tinson's play and we will reimburse him for his time and effort. This was our first time working with Mr Tinson and we were unable to agree on the right approach for our event.”

    Last updated: 5:21pm, October 27 2011