Less than one month before opening night on their new auditorium stage, Hillsboro High School students were crushed to learn that they would not be allowed to perform their fall play.
“She Kills Monsters” was abruptly canceled last week after students said there were complaints about a gay character. The play follows a high school senior as she learns about her late sister’s life. Along the way, it is implied her sister is gay.
After the school district said the play was “deemed inappropriate for K-12,” students launched a GoFundMe in hopes of putting on the play at a more welcoming venue.
In less than one week, organizers exceeded their $5,000 fundraising goal — raising nearly $21,000 in donations as of Friday afternoon.
Theaters from across the Tri-State have also reached out offering their venue, reports WCPO.
“We’re all excited,” student Christopher Cronan said. “We really wanted to do this, and when we heard it was going to be canceled we were devastated, and the overwhelming support from even outside of the state is great.”
“Cronan and his father, Ryan, attended a meeting where questions were raised about the play’s sexual content. Families said they believe the decision was influenced by a pastor who has been in support of canceling the play,” reports WCPO. “While Jeff Lyle, teaching pastor at Good News Gathering, said he was in favor of canceling the play, he said in an email he never spoke to the school board, who he believes made the decision. Cronan, who is bisexual, said the decision felt like ‘we had just been told, Screw off and your lives don’t matter.'”
Ryan and Christopher Cronan said they were glad they were able to force the discussion — a discussion they said “needed to happen.”
The money raised is going into a trust to create a nonprofit theater group for young people in the Hillsboro community. Students hope to perform the play in 2022.