The visa application for Austrian actor Martin Niedermair has been rejected by the Dept. of Homeland Security, forcing UCLA Live to cancel the first production of its Intl. Theater Festival. Niedermair was to star in Barrie Kosky’s one-man show "The Tell-Tale Heart," which was scheduled to open Wednesday.
UCLA Live asserted that the labor union Actors’ Equity automatically rejects visiting visas to any actor performing in English, which has happened for every English-speaking production they have imported. The union has long had a role in regulating the number of acting jobs that go to foreign actors in the U.S.
"This physically challenging role was written specifically for Martin Niedermair," David Sefton, UCLA Live’s executive/artistic director, said in a statement. "It is our intention to challenge what we believe to be an unfair decision and reschedule the show later in the season." The seventh edition of the UCLA fest will now open Oct. 14.