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The producers of a West End show are “carefully considering” plans to hold evenings aimed at black-only audiences following criticism from Downing Street.

Slave Play, which features Game Of Thrones star Kit Harington among the cast, will run from 29 June to 21 September at the Noel Coward Theatre in London.

It is set to include two performances aimed at an “all-black-identifying audience” that is “free from the white gaze”.

Similar “Black Out” nights were held during the show’s run on Broadway in New York in 2019, with organisers describing them as “private, invitation-only events”.

Kit Harington at the Oliviers
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Game Of Thrones star Kit Harington is among the ensemble cast. Pic: PA

The West End move was announced earlier this week, with the “Black Out” events confirmed to be taking place on 17 July and 17 September.

But when asked about the plans on Thursday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak‘s official spokesperson said: “Restricting audiences on the basis of race would be wrong and divisive”.

However, organisers said they would not “prevent or preclude anyone” from attending and said “nobody” had been turned away in the past.

They told Sky News in a statement: “As the producers of Slave Play in the West End, our intent is to celebrate the play with the widest possible audience. We want to increase accessibility to theatre for everyone.

“The Broadway production conceived of Black Out nights and we are carefully considering how to incorporate this endeavour as part of two performances in our 13-week run. We will release further details soon.

“To be absolutely clear, no one will be prevented or precluded from attending any performance of Slave Play.”

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On Friday morning the website for the play showed that, on the “Black Out” dates, tickets were available to buy for a matinee performance on 17 July, but not an evening performance.

No ticketed show appeared to be scheduled for 17 September.

Mr Sunak’s spokesman said on Thursday: “The prime minister is a big supporter of the arts and he believes that the arts should be inclusive and open to everyone, particularly where those arts venues are in receipt of public funding.

“Obviously, these reports are concerning and further information is being sought. But clearly, restricting audiences on the basis of race would be wrong and divisive.”

‘No colour bar’

Slave Play is written by US actor and playwright Jeremy O Harris, with Banana star Fisayo Akinade and Denzel Washington‘s daughter Olivia Washington also among the cast.

After being accused by some social media users of being “racist against white people”, Emily In Paris star Harris wrote on X: “I don’t have to imagine the roles were reversed in my grandparents’ lifetimes AND WORSE.

“I’m not even saying BLACKS ONLY I’m saying I’m inviting black ppl first! They can bring their white friends or lovers if they want. There’s no colour bar. But one existed in the UK recently!”

Slave Play was nominated for 12 Tony Awards for its Broadway run and tells a story of “race, identity and sexuality” at a plantation in the southern US during the early 21st century.

During a 2019 “Black Out” staging of the play in New York’s Golden Theatre, all 804 seats were used by black-identifying theatregoers, according to organisers.

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‘This is the ride of our lives’: Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney celebrate Wrexham promotion

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'This is the ride of our lives': Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney celebrate Wrexham promotion

Ryan Reynolds said he cried “tears of joy” after Wrexham secured a second successive promotion, while Rob McElhenney said he has “no words”.

The Hollywood actors, who took over the Welsh football club in 2021, saw their team seal their place in League One next season with a thumping 6-0 win over Forest Green.

Fans poured onto the pitch to celebrate at the end of the game at the Racecourse Ground.

Wrexham were promoted to the Football League at the end of last season following a 15-year absence, with an open top bus parade which saw tens of thousands turn up to mark the achievement.

Deadpool star Reynolds, 47, wrote on X: “A few years ago, if you told me I would be crying tears of joy over a football match taking place in North Wales, you would be Rob McElhenney.

“Congrats to Wrexham and to my co-chairman in crime. Double up the town! This is the ride of our lives.”

McElhenney, 46, who co-created It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, said he was watching the game from Los Angeles and wrote on X: “No words.” He also posted a heart emoji.

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Wrexham fans on the pitch celebrating promotion. Pic: PA
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Fans poured onto the pitch to celebrate.

While watching the match he had praised striker Paul Mullin, 29, who struck twice in the first half to help Wrexham to a 4-0 half-time lead.

“This may be my favourite goal of his. Not a game winner or anything fancy. Just perseverance, hustle and grit,” he wrote.

“@PMullin7 knows the people in that stadium didn’t pay their hard-earned wage to watch guys give 95%. They deserve 100% and he gives it to them All. The. Time.”

McElhenney previously let Mullin recover at his home after he suffered an injury during a US friendly against Manchester United.

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Since taking over the club in February 2021, McElhenney and Reynolds, along with their popular Welcome To Wrexham docuseries, have propelled the club into the global spotlight.

In 2022, the pair were honoured by the Welsh Government, the Football Association of Wales and S4C for promoting the country and its language with the Dragon Award.

Reynolds had a meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, while the club has seen recent royal visits from the Prince of Wales and the King and Queen.

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‘It’s demeaning’: Sharon Osbourne hits back at Amanda Holden in row over Simon Cowell

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'It's demeaning': Sharon Osbourne hits back at Amanda Holden in row over Simon Cowell

Sharon Osbourne has hit out at Amanda Holden after the presenter appeared to call her “bitter and pathetic” over comments she made about Simon Cowell.

The 71-year-old music manager and wife of former Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne said Cowell “doesn’t know how to keep friends” in a conversation with their fellow former X Factor judge Louis Walsh when the pair appeared together on Celebrity Big Brother.

In an article in the Daily Mail, Holden, 53, who is on the judging panel of Britain’s Got Talent alongside Cowell, said: “I hated seeing certain people in a reality show dissing Simon – he’s the person who’s given them all the chances, given them a lot of money and a lifestyle they probably wouldn’t have had.

“It’s bitter and pathetic. It was like Cinderella with her two sisters in the background – just stabby, stabby, stabby.”

Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden. Pic: PA
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Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden. Pic: PA

Osbourne, who has managed The Smashing Pumpkins and Motorhead, responded to the article in a lengthy post on X, writing Holden did not know her “history in the music industry, my achievements, the artists I have worked with, the shows that I’ve produced, and my global celebrity”.

She said whenever she had seen Holden on television she always thought she was “very beautiful and talented” but told her: “Never make comments about my lifestyle given to me by Simon Cowell.

“It’s demeaning to me and my husband and all the achievements I have made in my life as you’re making yourself look like an ill-informed sycophantic.”

Pic: Reuters
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Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. Pic: Reuters

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Osbourne, who starred alongside her family in the 2000s reality show The Osbournes and had her own talk show, said her brand is “known worldwide” and she has been “blessed with an amazing lifestyle throughout my entire life”, with a mansion in Beverley Hills and an English country estate.

“I never discuss money, lifestyle, or positions of power,” she said.

“I find it to be classless and crude.

“However, you’ve now forced my hand to divulge these things to you and I honestly don’t want to seem like I’m bragging, but the truth is my money and success were not due to doing a couple of Simon Cowell talent shows.

“Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed doing them at the time as they were great fun.

“Yes, Simon paid me very well. Probably more than what you’re receiving today, but all of that my darling went on a few handbags.”

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But Holden appeared to stand by her comments following Osbourne’s criticism.

A spokesperson told the Mail: “Amanda is aware of Sharon’s incredible career but, just like her, Amanda will always defend those close to her.”

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Shakira announces Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran world tour during surprise Coachella appearance

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Shakira announces Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran world tour during surprise Coachella appearance

Shakira has announced an upcoming world tour during a surprise performance at Coachella 2024.

The Colombian singer shocked the crowd as she rose from a platform during the set of Argentinian DJ Bizarrap to perform their new track, La Fuerte.

During the performance, the extravagant backdrop on the Sahara stage switched to say “Shakira, Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran World Tour”.

The Hips Don’t Lie star said: “Finally, we are going on tour. Starting here, this November in this city, can’t wait. Couldn’t ask for more.”

Bizarrap, left, and Shakira perform during the the first weekend of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Friday, April 12, 2024, in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
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Shakira appeared during a set with Argentinian DJ Bizarrap. Pic: AP

Bizarrap, left, and Shakira perform during the the first weekend of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Friday, April 12, 2024, in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
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It’s her first tour since 2018. Pic: AP

Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran, released last month, is the 12th studio album from the singer and first in seven years.

It tracks the singer’s transition from heartbreak to resurgence, and was inspired in part by her break-up with former Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique.

The 47-year-old had teased the announcement in an Instagram post a day before her appearance. Translated from Spanish it said: “The wolf is coming.”

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In a later post, she confirmed the world tour and was “stoked” to be “celebrating with my wolfpack”.

Shakira’s last tour was in 2018 following the release of her album El Dorado.

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Coachella is taking place over two weekends from 12-14 April and 19-21 April and features headline performances from Lana Del Rey, Doja Cat, Tyler, the Creator and a No Doubt reunion with Gwen Stefani.

Festivalgoers are seen during the the first weekend of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Friday, April 12, 2024, in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
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The yearly festival takes place in the Colorado Desert. Pic: AP

Lil Uzi Vert performs during the the first weekend of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Friday, April 12, 2024, in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
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Lil Uzi Vert was also one of the acts. Pic: AP

The renowned annual festival is held in the Colorado Desert and will also see London rock band Blur and South Korean DJ and singer Peggy Gou take to its stages.

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