A Lethbridge theatre group says they have been forced to close the doors on their new performance space after receiving what they call "hateful, hurtful and defametory emails" from other tenants in the building.

Theatre Outré, known for content that explores the fringes of sexual norms and gender expectations, recently moved from their small performance space into a bigger space in the historic McFarland Building on 4th Avenue South.

According to a blog post by the founders of Outré, the company was excited to make the move into the refreshed space, called Bordello. However, just as they were ready to open, the group says their landlord received "ignorant and homophobic" emails from other tenants in the building.

"Two hateful, hurtful and defamatory emails were sent to our landlord questioning our integrity based on moral grounds and challenging our co-existing alongside their businesses, including an insurance broker and a music school for children."

In the blog post, Theatre Outré says the complaints lobbied against the group were about homosexual lifestyles, "transsexual endorsement," child molestation, catching STDs from the building toilets, rape and indecent exposure.

The group says one of the tenants is circulating a petition within the building, trying to get the theater company evicted. As well, they say, an anonymous "concerned citizen" has successfully asked Lethbridge City Hall to reclassify the space as an 'adult theatre,' meaning the venue will be closed until approval from city council.

"A year of being legitimized and celebrated as artists across Canada and internationally in cities including Calgary, Halifax, Lethbridge and Dublin has now been reduced to an adult theatre unworthy of operating without special permission because of one phone call to the mayor."

Adding to the irony is the fact the group had previously secured grants from the Alberta Foundation of the Arts, The City of Lethbridge and the approval of the Downtown Lethbridge BRZ.

The City of Lethbridge issued a statement Wednesday, saying the matter has nothing to do with the group's production content, but rather "the need for a development permit application in order to operate a theatre."

The City says a representative from Theatre Outré was told Jan. 27 the group would need to apply for a development permit to operate in the city, in keeping with the standard land-use bylaw process.

The City says a development permit application has not been filed to date, but welcomes applications from any groups.

Theatre Outré, however, attests there was no issue until the anonymous tip to City Hall.

"This new definition of our space (which they were previously going to license as a ‘club’ with zero red tape) came about after the Mayor’s Office was notified and city hall employees visited our website. At Theatre Outré, we don’t know what the label ‘adult theatre’ means in respect to the work that we do."

From day one, the group has celebrated a variety of lifestyles – straight, gay and trans, included – but, as they told lethbridgelink.com last year, judgement, prudishness and censorship are not something they stand for.

Twitter users in Calgary and Lethbridge were quick to share their support with the theatre company, expressing sympathy and frustration with the situation.

Neither Theater Outré not the tenants have returned emails from The Huffington Post Alberta.

UPDATE: Theatre Outré has released a new statement on their website, saying they have been in contact with members of Lethbridge city council and are working with them to secure the appropriate permits and licensing for their space.

"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. 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. The homophobic views present around us in that building that would surely make it impossible to stay in that building is what we wanted to be quite transparent about with the public."

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    You don't get to play Elton John's "Your Song" at your wedding.

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Music:

    You don't get to drop Queen's "We Are the Champions" at sports events.

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Music:

    You don't get to sing karaoke to Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'n' Roll"...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Music:

    ...or bang your head to Judas Priest...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Music:

    ...and most of your "Best of the 80s" CDs will be confiscated. We <em>owned</em> that decade!

  • Still Homophobic? Let’s Make A Deal About Music:

    Oh, and tell your grandparents to lay off Cole Porter...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Music:

    ...Rodgers and Hart, the songwriting duo who wrote many hits, such as "My Funny Valentine"...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Music:

    ...Johnny Mathis...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Music:

    ...and Liberace.

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Movies:

    Here are a few films you must delete from your DVR or Netflix list: <em>Star Wars</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Movies:

    ...<em>Gone With the Wind</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Movies:

    ...<em>My Fair Lady</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Movies:

    ...<em>Arthur</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Movies:

    ...<em>The Green Mile</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Movies:

    ...<em>Rebel Without a Cause</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Movies:

    ...<em>Psycho</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Movies:

    ...The Twilight Saga: <em>Breaking Dawn</em> (Parts 1 and 2)...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Movies:

    ...<em>Giant</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Movies:

    ...<em>X-Men</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Movies:

    ...and every <em>Harry Potter</em> movie.

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Movies:

    Even Gandalf knows this list only covers a grain of sand on a massive beach.

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Favorite TV Shows:

    These classics are now off the air for you: <em>Bewitched</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Favorite TV Shows:

    ...<em>Frasier</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Favorite TV Shows:

    ...<em>Roseanne</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Favorite TV Shows:

    ...<em>Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Favorite TV Shows:

    ...<em>Desperate Housewives</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Favorite TV Shows:

    ...<em>Batman</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Favorite TV Shows:

    ...<em>Six Feet Under</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Favorite TV Shows:

    ...<em>Grey's Anatomy</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Favorite TV Shows:

    ...<em>Star Trek</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Favorite TV Shows:

    ...<em>The Brady Bunch</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Favorite TV Shows:

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  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Favorite TV Shows:

    And let's just say if you want to watch anything on Bravo (<em>Real Housewives</em>, anyone?), you will get a test pattern.

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Favorite TV Shows:

    Ellen DeGeneres will never be dancing for you every afternoon.

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Favorite TV Shows:

    As for newer TV shows? Get your mitts off <em>How I Met Your Mother</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Favorite TV Shows:

    ...<em>Modern Family</em>...

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    ...<em>Glee</em>...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Favorite TV Shows:

    ...and <em>American Horror Story</em>

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Or Your Wives' Clothing:

    Please raid your or their closets and confiscate these designer labels: Yves Saint Laurent...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Or Your Wives' Clothing:

    ...Isaac Mizrahi...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Or Your Wives' Clothing:

    ...Gucci...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Or Your Wives' Clothing:

    ...Patricia Field...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Or Your Wives' Clothing:

    ...John Galliano...

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Your Or Your Wives' Clothing:

    ...Jean Paul Gaultier... Oh, hell, who am I kidding? Just remove <em>everything</em> in there!

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Seeing Broadway Shows:

    Lights out. You get zero shows on Broadway (or any live theater, for that matter).

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    You don't get to fly in a plane. Leonardo Da Vinci was an early architect of aeronautics and civil engineering. As for his art, the <em>Last Supper</em> and the <em>Mona Lisa</em> will disappear.

  • Still Homophobic? Let's Make A Deal About Travel And Art:

    And this goes double for Michelangelo's <em>David</em>, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica.

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    Each cable news network now has an out, gay person. There's Anderson Cooper...

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    ...and Don Lemon on CNN.

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    ...and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.