"It usually got a round of applause every night," said RSC artistic director Michael Boyd of previous U.K. performances.
The production opened in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2009 in the rural heart of the U.K. The dead rabbits used for the performances in Britain were part of a scene illustrating the contrast between court and countryside, where life was harsher and people hunted and prepared their own food. The rabbits were sourced locally from gamekeepers as part of a farming control program.
Animal lovers were horrified by the possibility of actual rabbits being used as part of the current production. The House Rabbit Network put out a call on Facebook asking people to contact Festival Director Nigel Redden. Hundreds of rabbit lovers contacted the Lincoln Center Festival asking them to intervene.
On Sunday, July 3, the RSC and Lincoln Center Festival released the following statement:
Michael Boyd, artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and director of As You Like It, said today: “The Royal Shakespeare Company will not use rabbits during its performances of As You Like It in New York.”Thank you to the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Lincoln Center Festival for listening and responding to the concerns of rabbit advocates!
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