A council in the north-west Midlands has been criticised for banning a play about the white extremism and homophobia in case it causes offence to local people and inflames tensions.

Dudley council decided to cancel the showing of Phillip Ridley’s Moonfleece at Dormston School because some of the issues the play deals with were not “suitable” for a “school and community setting”.

Moonfleece features a white extremist group called Avalon. It also deals with homophobia and has been shown in areas such as east London and Bradford which have high levels of racial tension.

It was to be shown tonight in Dudley, two days before a planned demonstration by the far-right English Defence League. The area has seen rising support for the BNP.

Critics said the decision to pull the play was tantamount to appeasing the far-right and BNP sympathisers.

Mr Ridley said he wanted to show the play in areas where its issues were relevant, rather than to a typical theatre audience.

He told the Independent he was “outraged” at the council’s decision and “heartbroken” that the critically-acclaimed work would not reach those he intended it to.

Producer Will Young said: “It’s about homophobia and racism and he [Ridley] didn’t want it to play in a theatre made up of your usual theatre-goers, who are relatively removed from the issues to which the play relates. So we went looking for areas with people who are not big theatre audiences.”

A spokesman for Dudley council said: “The Mill theatre at Dormston High School had been hired for the production, however the booking was cancelled as the school did not feel some of the issues raised within the play were suitable for a school and community setting.”