Gainesville Community Playhouse cancels show following reports of sexual abuse

The Gainesville Community Playhouse has canceled an upcoming production in the wake of sexual assault allegations made by multiple women over the past week.

Several actors and community members have since taken to social media to demand answers from theater leaders and for them to take action.

The theater addressed the issue Monday in a Facebook post by saying it has canceled "Assassins," its season opener scheduled to run from Sept. 15 to Oct. 7, as it reviews information being shared. The announcement came a day after the theater's board of directors held an emergency meeting to discuss the issue.

"We are communicating directly with members of the greater theater community to gather any additional relevant information," the playhouse's post said. "It will take some time for us to determine what any future course of action should be."

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While the post doesn't elaborate on the “serious issues” discussed, a pledge circulating on social media sites is demanding that the Gainesville Community Playhouse (GCP) hold one of its directors accountable for “his abusive, predatory, and criminal behavior by immediately removing him from the theatre and cutting ties with him completely.”

The pledge also calls on those who sign it “not to audition, attend, or otherwise participate in any GCP productions, and/or to support GCP in any way, financially or otherwise" until the theater takes action.

Several attempts to reach officers of the Gainesville Community Playhouse on Tuesday were unsuccessful or those contacted declined to speak on the record.

On social media, several women came forward and publicly shared that they had been sexually assaulted by those involved with the playhouse over the years. Others sided with the victims and told the playhouse to fix its issues.

Julio Lunardo also took to social media to thank the theater for its many shows and for her time participating in some.

"I had a great time, enjoyed working with some wonderful people, and have made some lovely friendships. You have put on excellent shows for many years to the delight of the Gainesville community," she wrote. "BUT — it is time to CLEAN HOUSE. It grieves me to know that this theatre — which has provided so much joy — has within its community people who have abused and sexually assaulted fellow cast members. In addition, there are those in the theatre community who have not believed, protected, nor advocated for the victims. Some turn a blind eye and/or make excuses for the abusers’ behavior. This is unacceptable."

Lauren Robinson, an actress who used to work at the theater as a minor, wrote on Facebook that she has "loved ones who will bear the scars of this place forever."

"To the countless victims who have been silenced, afraid, or made to believe that any of this is normal, you are not alone, You are not crazy," she wrote. "And not a single part of this is worth what you’ve gone through. The Gainesville community deserves so much better.

The GCP board has set up an email account – – specifically regarding this matter. Board members are “communicating directly with members of the greater theater community to gather any additional relevant information," the theater's post says.

This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Gainesville Playhouse theater cancels show after sexual abuse reports