TVDSB will restore its $15,000 sponsorship of the Grand Theatre's production of
Prom Queen, Director of Education Laura Elliott announced Tuesday.
"In discussion with our staff and Trustees, and in listening to the concerns of
families, community members, organizations and advocates, administration has reconsidered
and will fund the High School Project," said Director Elliott, adding that important
safeguards will be put in place to help younger audiences deal with the story's
language and content.
"I recognize the angst that this has caused for many members of the community and
was in no way intended to be disrespectful."
Last week, the public learned that Senior Administration of both TVDSB and London
District Catholic School Board had decided to withdraw sponsorship of the production
after administration and board staff reviewed the script. The decision was leaked
to the media before it could be discussed with school board Trustees.
The play's use of adult themes, stereotypes and offensive language were considered
inappropriate for the High School Project, whose audience has traditionally included
thousands of elementary school children.
While students may now attend the production, important conditions must be followed:
- Parental permission must be granted for any student attending a performance of Prom
- Parents must be notified of the nature of the play's subject matter and language
to ensure that they are fully informed.
- Guidelines will also be developed for staff to determine the play's suitability
for different grade levels.
- Staff will develop materials for pre- and post-play discussions with students in
the safety of their classrooms to improve understanding of the play's context and
"I am delighted our administration has listened to the concerns of the community
and has reconsidered its decision," said Board Chair Matt Reid, who applauded Director
"The play is part of an uncomfortable conversation that we must have," said Chair
Reid. "I thank Director Elliott for working with me and my fellow Trustees to help
find a balance that acknowledges the need for students to see this story but also
ensures we have proper resources in place to help students understand the content
of the play."