A sex play advertised for families and “children aged 5 plus” has been cancelled after the venue received "unprecedented threats and abuse".
“The Family Sex Show” that was described by Cambridge-based theatre company ThisEgg as “an alternative to porn” was due to be performed at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory in May.
But after receiving thousands of complaints, coupled with threats to its staff, the venue has now decided to cancel the show.
In a statement, the Tobacco Factory said: "Performances of The Family Sex Show by ThisEgg at Tobacco Factory Theatres have been cancelled.
The Family Sex Show ThisEgg/Lidia Crisafulli
The show has been cancelled ThisEgg/Lidia Crisafulli
"This is due to the unprecedented threats and abuse directed at our building and team.”
A petition, which has now garnered more than 38,000 signatures, had hit out at the show.
The petition read: “Children should not be de-desensitised to the sight of naked adult bodies or introduced to topics surrounding adult sexual pleasure which this production promotes and celebrates.
“This is nothing more than a blatant and extremely concerning attempt to sexualise children prematurely and is abusive.
“The show aims to break down children’s natural boundaries and expose them to content they are not sufficiently mature enough to handle.”
It adds that the explicit show is funded by the Arts Council, which is in turn funded by taxpayers and National Lottery money.
Political activist and actor Laurence Fox encouraged followers on Twitter to sign the petition, saying: “It's wrong for five-year-old children to watch naked strangers on stage. Take them to the Lion King instead.”
While Susan Glaholm, a social worker in mental health and child protection, also expressed her concerns, noting: “I am compelled to say there is something seriously wrong in our society and culture if we accept that this is appropriate for young children to experience.”