London: A community opera involving hundreds of children and written by the author of ‘Billy Elliot’ has been cancelled after the writer refused to remove lines spoken by a gay character in which he calls himself "queer."Education officials said the school removed 300 pupils due to appear in the production because of offensive and derogatory language, but playwright Lee Hall on Monday accused the school of having dated and homophobic views.The writer said he had refused to remove the lines ‘Of course I`m queer’ and ‘I prefer a lad to a lass’ from the opera ‘Beached,’ the story of an eventful day at the seaside set to music by composer Harvey Brough.Writing in The Guardian newspaper, Hall said he had worked with the school to make other changes — including removing the use of "stupid" as an insult — but that the request about the gay character`s lines "seemed to come from an entirely different era."
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