£45,000-a-year private school apologises to furious parents for staging ‘educational play’ about HITLER… after pupils were pictured saluting evil dictator
- Actor Pip Utton took to the stage dressed as Hitler for the play about fascism
- But several pupils in audience were caught on camera snapping off Nazi salutes
- Parents also slammed the school for booking the play on the eve of Yom Kippur
A £45,000-a-year private school has apologised after several pupils watching a play about Adolf Hitler were pictured snapping off a round of Nazi salutes in the audience.
The one-man play, billed as an ‘educational exploration’ of Hitler’s fascism, saw actor Pip Utton, 70, take to the stage dressed as Hitler and sporting a swastika on his brown uniform.
But images obtained by the Jewish Chronicle showed a series of young students, believed to be around sixth-form age, laughing and giggling as they performed Sieg Heil salutes in the direction of the stage.
Following outcry, the head of Millfield School, based in Somerset, said it was ‘sorry for the hurt that has been caused’, adding: ‘We have changed our approach to vetting performances so that this will never happen again.’
It came after one Jewish father told the JC that he and other parents ‘felt sick’ when they saw the photos, and was particularly upset that the play had been staged on the eve of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur in September.
Pupils at elite public school Millfield perform Hitler salutes during a play about the Fuhrer
The one-man play, billed as an ‘educational exploration’ of Hitler’s fascism, saw actor Pip Utton take to the stage dressed as Hitler, sporting a swastika on his brown uniform
The father, who spoke anonymously, told the JC: ‘What on earth were the teachers thinking? It would not be appropriate to give this kind of play the green light for school children at any time, least of all on the eve of Yom Kippur.
‘The school must have known of the content and if not, it should have. There is no excuse for this disgraceful error of judgment.’
A parent also claimed that the school initially offered no apology or explanation for the behaviour of the students, the content of the play or the decision to host it just hours before one of the most solemn of Jewish religious holidays.
Instead, they alleged staff sought to cover up the response of the students to avoid a scandal by ordering pupils to delete any recordings or images they had taken of the play or the reaction of the audience.
‘The school’s sole concern seemed to be a looming scandal, so it tried to destroy the evidence. I am absolutely appalled,’ the parent told the JC.
Millfield School is one of the country’s most elite public schools whose alumni includes the likes of Romeo Beckham, footballer Tyrone Mings and the current British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
Millfield School, based in Somerset, is one of Britain’s most prestigious public schools with several celebrity alumni
The head of the Somerset-based school Gavin Horgan told the JC when asked for comment: ‘We should not have staged this play.
‘We are sorry for the hurt that has been caused and we have changed our approach to vetting performances so that this will never happen again.’
Utton meanwhile said he would have asked the school to book the play at another time had he known the Jewish holiday was just around the corner.
But he also spoke of the educational nature of the play and explained he attempted to manipulate the children into performing Nazi salutes to show how German citizens were manipulated by Hitler and the Nazi party.
‘I like to think I’m a sensitive fellow. Perhaps the school should have also have been more sensitive and found another date,’ he told the JC.
‘I was in no way attempting to glorify that horrible, horrible salute. The point was to show how people can be manipulated and how easy it is. Believe me, it is shocking for me to see it happen.
‘They got the fact that it was kind of a joke because they were laughing about it.’