Idris Elba ‘frustrated’ with writers’ claims

Idris Elba Image copyright Getty Images

Idris Elba has spoken of his “frustration” at accusations of plagiarism and discrimination by two former writers on his new play, Tree.

A row broke out on Tuesday after Tori Allen-Martin and Sarah Henley claimed they were shut out and suffered “intimidation and disrespect”.

Tree, which premiered at the Manchester International Festival on Thursday, is credited to Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah.

The women say they were “pushed off” after four years and got no credit.

Now in a lengthy social media post, Elba has responded saying the writing duo are acknowledged in the programme for being on the “original journey” of the project and he will continue to support “new, emerging and diverse talent”.

“We wanted to offer an opportunity to support these new writers while creating a piece of work of scale and to a director’s vision,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

“The outcome is an accusation of plagiarism and discrimination. However frustrating this has been for all, we will continue to offer opportunities and to support the next generation of writers and talent.”

The 46-year-old said he thought the drama, dance and music production, which centres around his 2014 album Mi Mandela, would provide an incredible opportunity for Allen-Martin and Henley to “hone their craft further”.

“Tori and Sarah decided they didn’t want to pursue the early thoughts and declined to work any further on the project. This is not uncommon in the development process.

“They expressed their reasoning and we respected their decision. We were left without any writers and hard to start work very quickly.”

Elba, who does not appear in the play himself, came to the aid of a woman who collapsed as she watched an early showing on Thursday, ahead of its official evening premiere – after which it will head to the Young Vic in London.

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Source: bbc.co.uk

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