Two Australian schools have called off a planned production of Grease after some students protested that the material is outdated and offensive.
Presbyterian Ladies’ College (PLC) and Scotch College were going to team up for a teen production of the familiar musical when some students at PLC complained, calling its themes “offensive, sexist and anti-feminist,” according to The West Australian.
Administrators listened and decided to pull the plug, planning to replace the musical with a different joint production, yet to be decided.
“A number of PLC students raised concerns whether the musical was appropriate for modern times,” reads a joint statement issued by the heads of both schools. “Scotch College listened respectfully to the girls’ concerns and both schools agreed a different musical would be better suited for their joint production in 2022.”
Considering Grease was first put on as a musical in 1971, released as a film in 1978, and is set in the ‘50s, it would be a little ridiculous to expect it to stay in line with modern society — many theatrical productions and films from the past are reflective of their times, and would likely not be created today.
Still, it isn’t the first time Grease has been labeled problematic, and it won’t be the last. But acknowledging outdated ideas in older stories and quite literally canceling them are two different beasts, and parents of PLC and Scotch students aren’t particularly thrilled with the choice made in this scenario.
The West Australian reports that some parents said it was just a “small minority” of students who complained, and that the remainder didn’t have a voice in the debate, ultimately calling the show’s cancelation a mistake.
And although the replacement production has not yet been announced, it will be interesting to see what problem-free musical the schools come up with to put on in Grease’s place.