Some residents have complained about the advertising of an internationally renowned play near the local school.
Some residents have complained about the advertising of an internationally renowned play near the local school. Marc Stapelberg

Vagina sign in a sensitve location causes a huge stir

A BILLBOARD for the Rochdale Theatre's production of the Vagina Monologues is causing a stir because of its location near a primary school and monastery.

At least one local citizen has raised his objections with Lismore City Council and The Northern Star.

While the billboard does feature artwork which is an abstract representation of a woman's vagina, it's hardly the most graphic depiction.

Theatre member Jenny Dowell said it was not the first time people had complained about the play.

"We've had two complaints," Mrs Dowell confirmed.

"One from a woman and we've responded to her and the other one has not come to us directly, but they had sent a letter to a local member of parliament who contacted our offices.

"He is concerned about the use of the word 'vagina' and the symbol which he says looks like a menstrual pad.

"We've held this play here at the theatre previously with as similar sign and we haven't had any complaints.

"When I was mayor I received two complaints to the previous show and I explained it's an award-winning, important play which covers... serious issues, such as rape in war.

"We feel it's important and it is already proving popular."

Mrs Dowell said if people were offended by the signage she would gently encourage them to come and watch the show, which she said was suitable for teenagers and all genders.

She said there were things to learn about the use of euphemisms in the show.

"Part of the play is what women have been taught to call vaginas by usually-well meaning mothers. There's a lot to learn in the show and if it feels brave to do so come along. You will learn something."

The Vagina Monologues play explores consensual and non-consensual sexual experiences, body image, genital mutilation, direct and indirect encounters with reproduction, vaginal care, menstrual periods, sex work, and several other topics through the eyes of women of various ages, races, sexualities and other differences.

Directors have chosen 12 monologues. There is seven confirmed shows starting on November 29 and one night will be a fundraiser for Heartfelt House.

The Northern Star reached out for comment from Goonellabah Public School representatives but on their behalf the NSW Department of Education declined to comment.

Lismore City Council was also contacted for comment.



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