A British touring production of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which was to start next month, has been canceled after Scott Rudin’s company Atticus — the firm behind the Broadway hit — threatened legal action.
The British production was to use the playwright Christopher Sergel’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s book, a version that has long been popular in schools.
Jonathan Church Productions, the Curve Theater in Leicester and London’s Regent’s Park Theater said in a statement that they had obtained a license for the production from Dramatic Publishing, an Illinois-based company that licenses Mr. Sergel’s adaptation.
But on Jan. 11, Atticus’ lawyers threatened action if the tour was not canceled, saying it held worldwide rights for professional stagings of the book. The team at Atticus was “unwilling to consider any compromises which were proposed to resolve the situation without lengthy and costly legal action,” the statement added.
Mr. Rudin acquired the stage rights for the book in 2016 and hired Aaron Sorkin to adapt the play for Broadway. The play, which became embroiled in a legal dispute with Harper Lee’s estate over Mr. Sorkin’s changes, finally opened to acclaim last month. Jesse Green, writing in The Times, called it a “beautiful, elegiac” version.
“I wish we’d been able to accommodate their tour, but we are going to do the show in the West End and then tour it in the U.K.,” Mr. Rudin said in an emailed statement, giving no details of a potential date for a London transfer.
“We own and control those rights, so there was of course no choice but to enforce the agreement we have with the estate of Harper Lee,” he added.
Jonathan Church Productions did not respond to requests for comment.