Last week, Republican congressional candidate Peter Meijer banned an international troupe of drag performers who also have Down Syndrome from performing at his Grand Rapids venue, the Tanglefoot. Now a Grand Rapids-based group, Curiosity Theatre, on Wednesday announced it would pull its upcoming performance there.
The Tanglefoot will host an installation for Project 1, an exhibition planned by the ArtPrize organization next month. Meijer, who is running next year for the 3rd Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Cascade Twp.), told Project 1 organizers he couldn’t allow Drag Syndrome, an acclaimed United Kingdom-based group of people with Down Syndrome who perform in drag, to use the space for their planned performance. He cited his fear of the performers’ “exploitation.”
Curiosity Theatre was set to perform “Tiny Beautiful Things” on Sept. 12, 19 and Oct. 3 at the Tanglefoot and is now looking for a new venue.
“This is not a decision we make lightly,” said Executive Director Krista Pennington. “But the censorship made by Peter Meijer of the UK group Drag Syndrome is in direct contradiction to the mission of Curiosity Theatre to include all voices and bring new ideas to Grand Rapids.”
Disclosure: Pennington is the partner of Advance Assistant Editor Nick Manes.