The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has criticised a TV listing as “unacceptable” and “abhorrent” after it described the cast of one of its productions as “garishly diverse”.
The piece appeared in a Sunday Times preview ahead of a showing of Macbeth on BBC Four.
It stated the play was “less garishly diverse in casting than last Sunday’s Romeo and Juliet”.
The Sunday Times has apologised for what was said to be a production error.
The 2018 Romeo and Juliet production is a modern-day interpretation of the classic love story.
The cast includes British Asian actor Bally Gill as Romeo and Glaswegian Karen Fishwick as Juliet, while Mercutio is portrayed as a woman by Charlotte Josephine.
In a statement the RSC said it was “shocked and appalled” at the language.
It said: “John Dugdale previewing Polly Findlay’s 2018 RSC production of Macbeth, describes it as ‘less garishly diverse in casting’ than Erica Whyman’s production of Romeo and Juliet the previous week.
“Such deliberate and offensive use of language demonstrates clear prejudice and devalues people, in this case specifically devaluing the work of RSC artists.”
The theatre added it aims to reflect the nation’s talent in all its diversity “such that the audiences which we serve are all able to recognise themselves on stage”.
In a statement a Sunday Times spokesperson said: “We are sorry that an inappropriate reference appeared in our review of Macbeth. It has been removed from our online edition.”
RSC productions have been broadcast as part of the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine project which aims to bring arts and culture to people’s homes during the coronavirus lockdown.