London - A London theatre has cancelled a scheduled performance of the opera "The Golden Dragon," some of which takes place in an Asian restaurant, because the production featured an all-white cast.
The Hackney Empire said it had cancelled the performance by Music Theatre Wales, scheduled on October 31, after "much discussion and debate around the casting of non-Asian singers."
"Hackney Empire sits at the forefront of the debate on diversity in the arts and, along with many other theatres, is totally committed to reflecting the diverse population of the UK on its stage," the theatre said in a statement.
"The debate aroused by the non-Asian casting in 'The Golden Dragon' compromises the Empire's commitment and position as a champion of diversity and accessibility across the theatre industry," it said.
Music Theatre Wales apologized for "mistakes" in staging the opera.
"Having chosen to stage this work - an operatic adaptation of a German play, partly set in a pan-Asian restaurant - we now recognize that we did not discharge in a sensitive way our responsibility to the communities it depicts," the company said.
"Featuring Caucasian singers as performers playing multiple roles, some of whom are specified as Asian characters, has caused offence," it said, adding that the practice was "still widespread within the opera world."
It promised to "move forward as an active contributor in building relationships that will initiate and guide change across the sector."