UK Tour of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Cancelled Over Legal Dispute

It’s been announced that the upcoming UK tour of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD has been cancelled.

Producers of the production, which was first produced at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in 2013 and uses Christopher Sergel’s adaptation of the novel, were approached by lawyers of Atticus Limited Liability Company on 11th January. The company was formed by Scott Rudin, the lead producer on the current Broadway revival, penned by Aaron Sorkin. Atticus Limited Liability Company claimed worldwide exclusivity in the professional stage rights to To Kill a Mockingbird, forcing the UK tour to be cancelled.

Producers of the tour claim that the statement conflicts with the license distributed by Dramatic Publishing Company. Professional production of the Sergel adaptation have taken place with similar licenses to that of Dramatic Production Company. These include  Royal Exchange, Manchester (2013), Regent’s Park Theatre (2013), and Octagon Theatre, Bolton (2016).

Despite this, Atticus Limited Liability Company made clear that they would commence legal proceedings against the tour’s producer, originating theatre and all venues where it was due to be presented if the tour was not cancelled with immediate effect. The statement released by producers notes that Atticus Limited Liability Company were unwilling to consider any compromises to revolve the situation.

Rehearsals for the upcoming tour were still ongoing to this day (21/1/19).

Ticketholders for any upcoming performances are advised to contact their original sales point to arrange full refunds.

You can read the official statement from Jonathan Church Productions, Curve and Regent’s Park Theatre below:

It is with regret that the forthcoming UK and Ireland tour of To Kill a Mockingbird, previously announced on 16 July, 2018, has been forced to cancel.

The Christopher Sergel adaptation of the novel was licensed to Jonathan Church Productions by Dramatic Publishing Company. However, on 11 January, 2019, lawyers acting for Atticus Limited Liability Company, the company formed by producer Scott Rudin for the current Broadway production of To Kill a Mockingbird, contacted Jonathan Church Productions, Curve, Regent’s Park Theatre and all the venues due to receive the production, claiming worldwide exclusivity in the professional stage rights to To Kill a Mockingbird.

This statement conflicts with the licence issued by Dramatic Publishing Company. It also seems to be at odds with the fact that many professional productions of the Sergel adaptation have been staged in the UK previously under what are understood to be similar licences from Dramatic Publishing Company, including those produced by the Touring Consortium Theatre Company (2011), Royal Exchange, Manchester (2013), Regent’s Park Theatre (2013), and Octagon Theatre, Bolton (2016).

It appears there may be a difference of opinion as to exactly what rights were originally conferred to Dramatic Publishing Company in 1969 by the Harper Lee Estate. Nevertheless, despite those involved in the UK tour having acted in good faith at all times, Atticus Limited Liability Company made it clear that they would commence legal proceedings against the tour’s producer, originating theatre and all venues where it was due to be presented if the tour were not cancelled with immediate effect. Atticus Limited Liability Company were unwilling to consider any compromises which were proposed to resolve the situation without lengthy and costly legal action.

Jonathan Church Productions, Curve and Regent’s Park Theatre are deeply saddened to have been forced into the position of disappointing audiences across the UK and Ireland. We would like to thank all those who have already purchased tickets, and those currently working to recreate the show which had been in rehearsals until today.

We are truly sorry for the inconvenience this cancellation will cause and ask that ticketholders contact their original sales point to arrange full refunds.

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