National Theatre actor Tim Crouch's one-man take on A Midsummer Night's Dream offended staff at St Mary's Roman Catholic school, Portslade, East Sussex, when it was staged before nine and 10-year-olds.
In his play, I, Peaseblossom, Mr Crouch joked about "making love" and "coupling", blessed everything from fire extinguishers to puddles of wine, and pretended to fall in love with a member of the audience. It was Year 6 teacher Pauline Grimstone who became the object of his desires.
Mr Crouch, a 40-year-old father of three, currently touring secondary schools with Shopping for Shoes is sponsored by the National Theatre and the DfES. He said: "I fell in love with the wrong person. Miss Grimstone thought her authority had been undermined and I apologise for that."
Peter Atkinson, a governor at St Mary's, said: "Miss Grimstone is not a prude. She just thought the performance was inappropriate in front of that age group. Some people might have been offended by the blessings. It was a little bit near the mark in terms of the playwright's references to making love and approaching one of the teachers in a rather amorous way."
George Hoare, head of Cottesmore St Mary's RC primary, East Sussex, cancelled a performance of the touring play, which finished this week, after being told of the content of the show by Joyce Jones, head of St Mary's, Portslade.
He said: "It was felt that the blessings had a mocking edge to them, and I do not think mocking any religion is acceptable."
Matt Buck 31