The Niagara Catholic District School Board responded this week, saying that the play was cancelled because school professionals believed the material of the play was inappropriate for a primarily elementary school audience.
The school argues that the content and storyline of the play was not fully disclosed in the advertising, and that it was marketed as a fairytale play rather than as a play about an 8 year old boy who questions his gender identity.
According to the school district, the description of the play stated: "Deep in Simon's basement is a secret world of imagination and adventure - where a young prince can transform into mythological creatures! Simon invites new neighbour Abby to help save a princess in a battle against a fire-breathing dragon. Meanwhile, in reality, Simon's older brother Zach's not so sure about all this dressing up and fairy tale business…A thoughtful and hilarious new play about our ability to transform!"
Because of the previous relationship with the company, the district did not review the play beyond the description.
"Following the first performance of the play, it was brought to the attention of the Program Department that the play was not age-appropriate for a predominantly primary audience. Further, it was not originally presented as a play about gender identity and the contents of the play required both pre-performance and post-performance discussion with students to prepare and discuss how the play's message aligns with various curriculum expectations, including the Health and Physical Education Curriculum," the district said.
"The decision to defer showing the play ... was to afford time for further discussion and preparation with age-appropriate students and how the message links to curriculum expectations. It is unfortunate that Carousel Players did not provide a synopsis of the play that fully disclosed the content and storyline."