James McAvoy Says Female ‘Cyrano’ Co-Stars Were ‘Racially Abused’ on Glasgow Stage Production

"I was absolutely shocked and dismayed," McAvoy recalled.
James McAvoy
James McAvoy
Bruce Glikas/WireImage/Getty

James McAvoy is grappling with his Glasglow roots.

The Scottish actor revealed that during a two-week stint of the West End play “Cyrano de Bergerac” in Glasglow, his female co-stars were “racially abused” on a daily basis.

“The cast were amazing, it was brilliant. But I was really saddened, to be honest with you, because most of the women of color in the cast got racially abused pretty much on a daily basis when we were there,” McAvoy told British GQ. “I was just really saddened. I was absolutely shocked and dismayed and to use a Scottish word, scunnered.”

The abuse was “sexually explicit and violent, and entirely directed toward female actors,” per the outlet’s conversation with McAvoy.

“We were delighted to get to Brooklyn [where the play was to move to next], and leave Glasgow,” said McAvoy, who brought the production to New York’s BAM in April. “It was horrible.”

A spokesperson for Theatre Royal, Glasgow told IndieWire, “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.”

The London-based actor 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.”

Earlier this year, McAvoy explained on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” that the crowd in Scotland was “louder and more boisterous” and even called out to McAvoy directly while onstage. The “X-Men” alum admitted that fellow Glaswegians view his newly “well English” accent as an “aberration.”

“This noise that’s coming out of my mouth that you don’t understand very well, this is seen in Glasglow as an aberration, a capitulation, a crossing of a line, which means that I’ve changed,” McAvoy said.

As for “Cyrano,” McAvoy described how the production came to be.

“We were in a really confident place with ‘Cyrano.’ So confident in fact that we didn’t do a dress rehearsal,” McAvoy recalled. “We were so certain that we had a tight show. We didn’t know people would like it or not…We have an amazing cast in this show, they’re really special.”

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