James McAvoy ‘saddened’ by racial abuse towards female co-stars in Glasgow

James McAvoy - Marc Brenner
James McAvoy - Marc Brenner

James McAvoy has claimed his female co-stars in his Cyrano de Bergerac theatre show were racially abused when the production came to Glasgow.

The actor said women involved in the cast suffered “sexually explicit and violent” taunts on a daily basis during their time in his home city.

The 43-year-old said the experience was “horrible” and made him regret bringing the production to Scotland.

The play, adapted by Martin Crimp and directed by Jamie Lloyd, ran for nine sold-out performances at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal in March before moving to Brooklyn.

In an interview with GQ, McAvoy, who was brought up in the Drumchapel area of Glasgow, said: “The cast were amazing, it was brilliant. But I was really saddened, to be honest with you, because most of the women of colour in the cast got racially abused pretty much on a daily basis when we were there.

“I was just really saddened. I was absolutely shocked and dismayed and, to use a Scottish word, scunnered.

“We were delighted to get to Brooklyn and leave Glasgow. It was horrible.”

McAvot - Marc Brenner
McAvot - Marc Brenner

McAvoy told the magazine he debated whether or not to tell the story because he knows how it could go down at home.

He added: “The narrative that Scottish people and the Scottish media want to hear when one of us has gone away and done all right, they like you to be back at home and go, ‘It’s rare. It’s fantastic. I’m chuffed to be here and there’s no crowd like a Scottish crowd’.

“But I was going on stage every night going, I don’t want us to be here. I brought this cast here and I don’t want to be here.”

McAvoy took the lead role in the play, written in 1897 by the French dramatist Edmond Rostand.

It has undergone a modern remake with duels turned into rap battles, and a chorus featuring beatboxers.

The show and McAvoy’s performance won rave reviews from critics and completed a six-week run in London’s West End before coming to Glasgow.

A spokesperson for Theatre Royal Glasgow said: “Everyone at Theatre Royal was extremely upset by these incidents which happened elsewhere in Glasgow city centre.

“Diversity and inclusion remain a priority for us, and we offered appropriate support to the company at the time.”