Our response to the situation in Ukraine
We are completely appalled at the unjustified, barbaric invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. We hope and pray for a swift and peaceful resolution.
As a company, there are several areas of our business operations that we have had to reevaluate in light of this Russian aggression towards a peaceful neighbouring country, and the unparalleled refugee crisis that Russia’s monstrous acts have created:
With Regards to our Russian Customers
Like every other UK company, we are now looking carefully at the business we do with Russia. It is true that our sales in this location have historically been a lot lower than most other nations. Just a few dozen orders over the last 19 years. Nevertheless, we still feel that at this time we should no longer continue to provide goods and services to Russian customers. Therefore, the option for customers located in Russia and Belarus to purchase resources from our website has now been removed.
We have looked back over our company’s entire history for the last two decades, and calculated all the money we have ever taken from any customer located in Russia or Belarus (full turnover, not just profits) and have made a donation equal to this total towards the Ukraine refugee crisis appeal, via the Disasters Emergency Committee (dec.org.uk).
Four of our publications have been affected by the war in Ukraine. We have had to reevaluate each one and are dealing with each in slightly different ways:
‘I’ll Dream Of Kosovo’ is a musical about the refugee crisis created by the conflict in Kosovo during the late 1990s. It follows the story of a mother and two children escaping a war zone and building a new life for themselves in the UK.
Although there is nothing in this musical that can cause offence and even though the historical conflict in Kosovo is completely unrelated to the current situation in Ukraine, we feel that the whole subject matter of this musical is ‘too close to the bone’ at the moment. Therefore, we have temporarily withdrawn it from sale.
Similarly, ‘The Egyptian Nativity‘ is also about refugees. but in this comical nativity, our two heroes, Mary and Joseph are the refugees themselves! They are on the run with their newborn baby Jesus, escaping from the evil King Herod, seeking asylum in Egypt. Here they have to overcome the bigoted views of some locals, and pass a citizenship test in order to be allowed to make Egypt their temporary new home.
This really is a fun nativity musical, but with a serious and poignant question to ask. Namely, how welcoming are we to refugees, and how kindly do we treat those in desperate need.
Although we don’t believe there is anything in this musical which can cause offence, we are acutely aware that taking the current UK political climate into account, certain parts of this nativity could be seen as being slightly controversial.
However, given that Christmas is still many months away, we are not removing this title from sale just yet, or altering it in any way. For now, this publication will simply carry a detailed warning on the product page, so that customers can make an informed decision themselves before purchase.
This lovely Christmas musical features the festive traditions of many countries, such as France, Australia and China. However, one of the heavily featured countries is Russia. It includes a catchy song about ‘Grandfather Frost’ who is a Santa alternative, celebrated in Russia and several eastern European countries, including Ukraine.
We don’t intend to remove this entire publication from sale. However, for now, we will include an advisory warning not to use the Russian song, or the section of script surrounding it.
As we’re writing this blog, it has just been announced on the news that the Welsh orchestra has dropped all music by Russian composer Tchaikovsky. This is partly because, “some of Tchaikovsky’s work was deemed offensive to Ukrainians.” Similarly, one of the main reason we can no longer recommend using our Russian ‘Grandfather Frost’ song, is that the melody line is based on the famous Russian folk tune, ‘Kalinka’, which is almost like a second Russian national anthem, and as such may also be offensive to Ukrainians.
Therefore, we are currently working on alternative country and song suggestions. Preferably with a newly recorded song for a completely different country. We hope to have something in place by the autumn. If we have not been able to make appropriate changes to ‘Christmas Around The World‘ by that time, we will simply remove the Russian song from the publication and re-write the scripts and resources appropriately.
Finally, we come to ‘Will Santa Get Shot Down‘, also known as ‘Christmas in the Air-Raid Shelter’. This is an uplifting Christmas musical, set on Christmas Eve 1940. Based on a true story, Geoff and his family have to spend what should be the most magical night of the year… in a cold, wet air-raid shelter!
Given that the history topic of ‘life during the second world war’ is still being studied in UK schools, and that this musical is a great way of covering that topic, we won’t be removing it from sale. However, as this publication includes the sounds of air-raid sirens and bombs, it could prove to be distressing for anyone who has been affected by the current situation in Ukraine. Therefore, we will include an advisory warning, asking customers to consider the effect that this subject matter might have on your cast or audience.
Under Constant Review
Moving forward, we will keep all of the above under review. And as the conflict in Ukraine develops, we will reserve the right to make further changes to our publications, warnings, policies, terms and conditions, as and when appropriate.
Finally, to end on a positive note, here is a song about peace, taken from ‘I’ll Dream Of Kosovo’. We hope you will consider using this song ‘Work for Peace’, in your school assemblies. Click on the image below to view the lyric video on YouTube, or click here.