Campaigners in Scotland have succeeded in pressuring the organizers of an arts festival into removing the Israeli state-funded Incubator Theater Company from a city center venue in Edinburgh.
Protests against Incubator’s play, a “hip-hop opera” titled The City, began with a letter signed by over fifty of the most high-profile artists and writers in Scotland, including the Scots Makar (poet laureate) Liz Lochhead. The play was on the program for the Edinburgh Fringe, reputedly the world’s largest arts festival.
Other signatories to the open letter calling for a boycott of Incubator included novelist and painter Alasdair Gray and playwright David Greig.
A daily picket of a pop-up theater organized by Underbelly, the festival’s promoters, had been planned. The demonstrations were called by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and other Palestine solidarity groups.
But Underbelly announced after just one protest that it was removing Incubator from its listings.
A spokesperson for the promoters was quoted on STV, a news website, as saying: “Earlier today, after discussions between Underbelly, Incubator Theater, the University of Edinburgh and Police Scotland it was agreed that future performances of The City at the Reid Hall would be cancelled. Today’s performance of The City went ahead as planned, but the logistics of policing and stewarding the protest around the Reid Hall … make it untenable for the show to continue.”
However, Underbelly also stated that it would be trying to find Incubator an alternative venue for its planned month-long run at the Fringe.
Albie O’Neill, a spokesperson for the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said the level of public support for the protest against Incubator was “overwhelming” and that it reflected the “revulsion over what is happening in Gaza.”