Northern Ireland

Soho Theatre sorry and saddened after report Jews ‘hounded out’ of comedy show

At least six audience members were said to have left in the incident after the Palestinian flag was produced at the end of the performance.

Soho Theatre has said it is ‘sorry and saddened’ by the incident
Soho Theatre in central London has said it is "sorry and saddened" by an incident after reports Jewish audience members were "hounded out" after a comedy show (John Stillwell/PA) Soho Theatre has said it is ‘sorry and saddened’ by the incident (John Stillwell/PA)

A London theatre has apologised and said it is looking into an incident after Jewish audience members were reportedly “hounded out” of a comedy show.

Soho Theatre, in the capital’s West End and a former synagogue, said it was saddened by the incident at the end of a performance by comedian Paul Currie on Saturday.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) said it was “assisting Jewish guests who were reportedly hounded out” of the theatre.

The organisation said it understood an Israeli man and his partner both left, followed by a Jewish party-of-four in an incident where the Palestinian flag was produced at the end of the performance.

The CAA, which said it had been in touch with one of the Jewish audience members who left, reported that people had been encouraged to stand for both the Ukrainian and Palestinian flags.

The Israeli man was then reportedly asked why he had not stood up and, according to the CAA, said that he had enjoyed the show until the Palestinian flag appeared.

The CAA said the Israeli man had been “yelled at” by the comedian to leave, and that others in the audience then shouted “Get out” and “Free Palestine”.

Soho Theatre said: “We are sorry and saddened by an incident that took place at our venue at the end of a performance of Paul Currie: Shtoom on Saturday February 10 which has caused upset and hurt to members of audience attending and others.

“We take this very seriously and are looking into the detail of what happened as thoroughly, as sensitively, and as quickly as we can. It is important to us that Soho Theatre is a welcoming and inclusive place for all.”

The theatre is a registered charity and the Charity Commission has said it is assessing information “to determine if there is a role” for the regulator.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “What the Jewish audience-members have recounted is atrocious, and we are working with them and our lawyers to ensure that those who instigated and enabled it are held to account.

“These allegations are of deeply disturbing discriminatory abuse against Jews. Comedians are rightly given broad latitude, but hounding Jews out of theatres is reminiscent of humanity’s darkest days, and must have no place in central London in 2024.”

The show is described on the theatre website as a “unique, surrealist, dada punk-clown, non-verbal experience from the award-winning Belfast comedy artist Paul Currie”.

A Charity Commission spokesperson said: “We are aware of concerns that have been raised on social media relating to an event held at Soho Theatre.

“We are currently assessing information available to us to determine if there is a role for the Commission.”

Currie has been contacted for comment.