Disney shuts down Student LGBT production of “Sister Act”

Across the pond in Ireland a student group at NUI Galway has received a cease and desist order from Disney warning them of dire consequences if they continue with their production of a play based on Disney film, "Sister Act". The group is understandably upset after having worked for 6 months on the production.

…the play had attracted "fantastic support" from students of NUIG and neighbouring colleges, while there had been "record interest" from the general public. "We are dumbfounded by Disney’s stance towards what is a charitable, non-profit-making society, aimed at promoting safety and integration for the student LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community. We were just having fun."


One thing the story leaves off is that Disney has already licensed a stage production of "Sister Act: The Musical". It’s currently playing in Atlanta and on its way to New York City. There could understandably be some confusion between the two productions.

The story said it was "loosely based" on the movie. The play’s producers might want to consider a IP attorney to see what changes they could make to become totally independent of Disney’s concept. Probably change the name to start.

6 thoughts on “Disney shuts down Student LGBT production of “Sister Act””

  1. Don’t people understand that you need permission to do things like this? I really don’t care how much “community support” they had for the project. Any responsible theater group or drama teacher should know that you need permission to put on a play. Heck, high schools pay money to do things like Fiddler on the Roof, but these folks they could just put on a play based on a Disney creation?

    The teacher should be fired for massive irresponsibility.

  2. I’d be interested to know whether this is just one more local production getting shut down because they didn’t do their licensing homework, or this production got flagged for intervention because it was potentially controversial.

    It’s hard to know without more context. I’d like to know how many similar (but non-LGBT) productions have been shut down. And anybody who reads my blog knows that my heart is with the LGBT community here, and I hope the producers are able to find a good way forward.

  3. Yup, Disney shuts down anything proceeding without authorization. Always have. OF course some will rear their heads and shout discrimination at the drop of a hat. Wait for it, it will hit the internet.

  4. I’ve personally witnessed small, non-disney-sanctioned productions of Sister Act.

    None of them were actually called Sister Act.

    Disney is not the big bad wolf, eager to pounce on any small production. Especially in the case of satire, or anything else that’s “loosely based” on the original, all they had to do was call it something like “Sister Smack” or “Sister’s Rack” and they’d have been fine.

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