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Shakespeare's Globe Theatre To Read KJV Bible Over Holy Week

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GLOBE THEATRE
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By Jo Siedlecka
Religion News Service

LONDON (RNS/ENInews) William Shakespeare's Globe Theatre will mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible with a cover-to-cover reading between Palm Sunday and Easter Monday.

Twenty actors will take part in the reading, which is scheduled to take 69 hours over eight days. They will recite all 1,189 chapters of the historic Bible in the theater built as a replica of the place that saw many of Shakespeare's greatest plays.

"Four hundred years ago, a set of church scholars sat in Stationer's Hall by St. Paul's Cathedral and put the finishing touches to the King James Bible. Across the river, a set of playwrights, Shakespeare foremost amongst them, entertained a town," artistic director Dominic Dromgoole told ENInews.

"The playwrights listened to the clerics in church, the clerics sneaked in to listen to the plays in the theater. Between the two of them they generated an energy, a fire and wit in the English language."

The theater's 2011 season will also include the story of the creation of the King James Bible in the play "Anne Boleyn," by Howard Brenton. The story looks at the legacy of King Henry VIII's second wife, who conspires with the exiled William Tyndale to make England Protestant forever.

Starting 70 years after her death, the play examines how King James united England's religious factions with a common Bible, and the debt he owed to Anne.