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Changing OU to Queen's in play a serious error

Published 30/11/2015

The Open University (OU) has been cut from Willie Russell's modern classic, Educating Rita, in the upcoming Lyric Theatre production. The setting has been changed to Queen's University.

Willie Russell wrote Rita as an OU student and that makes all the difference. The OU is an opportunity for people who would not think about going somewhere like Queen's.

Guardian theatre critic Michael Billington said this in his review of a production earlier this year, in which Lenny Henry played the role of Frank, the OU tutor: "Without stressing the point, Russell also reminds us that the Open University, of which Rita is a beneficiary, is arguably the greatest legacy of the 1964-70 Labour government."

It is deeply disappointing to see Willie Russell's play "dumbed down" to appeal to what the Lyric presumably considers to be the limited outlook of its patrons.

But even putting politics and history to one side, the Lyric Theatre is going to lose potential group ticket sales from local OU post-tutorial nights out.

DUGALD MCCULLOUGH

Newcastle, Co Down

Belfast Telegraph

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