Stones thrown at actors in 'cowardly homophobic hate crime' attack

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Two actors were attacked with stones as they made their way to a theatre performance in what has been described as a “cowardly homophobic hate crime”.

Lucy Jane Parkinson and Rebecca Banatvala were left “hugely shaken” after an object was thrown at them in Southampton.

The two young women were starring in Rotterdam, which tells the story of a young gay women, at Southampton’s NST Campus.

The couple said they were walking to the theatre for the matinée performance on Saturday when Ms Parkinson was hit by an object apparently thrown from a passing car.

Ms Parkinson said as she kissed her partner, fellow actor Ms Banatvala, she was struck and knocked to the ground, leaving her with slight injuries.

Lucy Jane Parkinson and Rebecca Banatvala were both starring in Rotterdam, which tells the story of a young gay woman, when they were attacked for kissing

She said they heard “young boys laughing” as the car drove off.

The theatre company has said they were left “hugely shaken” after the object hit them.

Ms Parkinson told the BBC: “We’re just two people looking for happiness like everybody else.

“I don’t really understand why we’re met with aggression, from strangers to strangers.

“It’s made realise the importance of this play and stories like it.

“It needs to be seen as something that is normal and regular and isn’t something to be feared or attacked.”

Two performances on Saturday were cancelled because of the incident.

Rotterdam play is now on a UK tour following a successful West End run

The show’s production company Hartshorn-Hook said: “”We are devastated that this kind of behaviour is still so prevalent, a fact which reinforces the importance of this play’s message.

“We are doing all we can to support the team and thank our audiences and colleagues for their support.”

NST director Sam Hodges tweeted: “I am extremely sad that this sort of appalling behaviour is still happening anywhere, let alone in a city where we have worked so hard to promote a culture of tolerance, inclusivity and civic pride.”

Nuffield Theatre at Southampton’s NST Campus

 

Hampshire police said it had received a report of homophobic abuse.

A Hampshire police spokeswoman said: “We have received a report from a third party relating to an incident which happened on Hill Lane, Southampton.

“It has been reported that homophobic abuse was shouted at two women, and stones thrown at them, by a the occupants of a passing car.

“The two women involved do not wish to pursue any police action.”

The incident comes just days after two women were left covered in blood after a homophobic attack on a night bus in London.

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