Stop Censorship of Loyola University's Theatre Arts Productions

The current policy of Loyola University’s Theatre Arts department is to allow no more than five instances of the f-word in any given production. Other curse words are not limited, and other adult content and situations unrelated to language are frequently allowed if called for in the script. As members of the Theatre Department and the Loyola Community, we feel that this policy of limiting use of the f-word is ineffectual and harmful to the integrity of the department and its productions.

Foremost, this censorship is a violation of copyright law. In purchasing the rights to the scripts it produces, Loyola’s Department of Theatre Arts and Dance agrees to perform those scripts exactly as written. In addition to being illegal, this violation of copyright compromises the artistic and thematic intentions of the playwright. That being said, the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance does not produce plays that include gratuitous adult content. If a script being produced includes such language and situations, the playwright has incorporated them intentionally to best convey the themes of the production and remain as true to life as possible. If a Loyola production includes adult content, the playwright has called for it in order to best convey the true-life, social justice themes of the play. In censoring the playwright’s language, not only is our department violating copyright law, but it is also compromising the themes of its productions.

In addition to violating copyright law and playwright intent, the current policy is patronizing to the adult students, faculty, and audience members involved. If a production is inappropriate for children, the department specifies that there is adult content on any advertisements or marketing materials. The current policy allows for five uses of the f-word per production. Therefore the audiences and all else involved have already been exposed to the word multiple times, making the censorship of further use of the word nonsensical. To censor the performance of a single word to an adult, collegiate audience is not just unnecessary, but also patronizing to all involved.

In summation, we feel that the current policy of censoring more than five uses of the f-word to be not only in direct violation copyright law and playwright intent, but also grossly unnecessary in an adult academic environment. If the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance is to produce scripts that include true-to-life, often adult themes, the current censorship policy must be abolished to maintain the integrity of the department and its productions. 

We, the undersigned members of the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance and the Loyola community, ask that the current policy of censoring more than five uses of the f-word be abolished to protect playwright intent and integrity of our department. 

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