Theater cancels shows after actors targeted in homophobic assault

Rebecca Banatvala, left, and Lucy Jane Parkinson were assaulted in Southampton, southern England, Saturday.

(CNN)Two actors were subjected to a homophobic assault Saturday in Southampton, southern England, resulting in the cancellation of two performances of an award-winning LGBTQ play.

Lucy Jane Parkinson and Rebecca Banatvala were accosted by assailants in a moving car as they walked to the Nuffield Southampton Theatres, where they were due to perform in "Rotterdam," an Olivier Award-winning comedy about gender and sexuality written by Jon Brittain.
"We were just walking down the street, having a laugh. We kissed, we were laughing. It was just a peck," Parkinson told CNN.
"Then a young-sounding boy's voice shouted out a car window, and then something struck me on my face between my eye and my temple -- it felt like something round, like a pebble. I fell straight to the floor. I heard the car driving off and them laughing."
    Both Saturday performances of "Rotterdam," which is currently touring the UK, were canceled after the assault.
    "I was trying to calm down. I was in a lot of pain," Parkinson said. "But I will be holding my girlfriend's hand in the street and I'll be holding it proudly."
    The play's company manager called the police after the attack, and a spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary told CNN that it is being investigated as a hate crime.
    "I don't want these people prosecuted. I said to the police that I want them to sit down and explain to me what the problem is. I want them to talk to me," Parkinson said, adding: "We need to campaign for more LGBT-inclusive lessons in education. We need to educate people that we're not outsiders because we're gay, so they don't grow up thinking that being heterosexual is the norm and that being gay is something wrong that needs to be violently and aggressively corrected."
      Last month, a lesbian couple were beaten in a homophobic assault on a London bus. Melania Geymonat and her girlfriend, Chris, were attacked on a night bus on May 30, leaving both bloodied and Geymonat with a broken nose.
      Five teenagers have since been arrested in connection with the assault.