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Adult-themed theatre in southern Alberta not permanently closed: operators

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. - A southern Alberta adult-themed theatre company that said it was being forced out of business by homophobic neighbours now says it's not being permanently shut down.

Theatre Outre describes itself as having "a body-positive and sex-positive mandate through our work, designed to challenge gendered and sexual norms."

On its Facebook page earlier this week, the company said fellow tenants in its new building had sent ignorant and hateful emails to the landlord and complained to the City of Lethbridge about the theatre company's club called Bordello.

The city said the troupe needed a development permit to continue operating and the theatre operators said they would have to shut down the club.

"It is with great pain and sadness that Theatre Outre announces the closing of Bordello," the operators wrote on the website. "Unfortunately, in the span of just the past few days, ignorant and homophobic neighbouring tenants in the McFarland Building have made it clear in various ways that we are not welcome in their midst."

But in an update posted later in the week, the theatre company said it had met with the city and the situation had improved.

"We want to make it clear that we are NOT being kicked out by our landlord. We have NOT BEEN PERMANENTLY closed by our city. These would be false claims," it reads.

"Our major hurdle is NOT the City of Lethbridge. We understand there is a licensing process and a discussion has to be had around what we do in order to properly process our new venue."

None of the operators — Richie Wilcox, Jay Whitehead or Aaron Collier — responded to numerous requests for an interview about the situation.

Theatre Outre said Lethbridge is a good place to live and work.

"Lethbridge is not homophobic, though some who live here may be. Many people in this community have stepped forward to support us and we are overwhelmed."

"Truly, we are eager for this to pass so that we can get on with the business of creating theatre, wherever in the city that may be."

At its previous venue in Lethbridge, the theatre hosted the world premiere production of UNSEX’d, and the week long Pretty, Witty & Gay Festival.

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