Play cancelled in NI after blasphemy claims

Friday 24 January 2014 21.50
Reduced Shakespeare Company's play was cancelled over claims it was blasphemous
Reduced Shakespeare Company's play was cancelled over claims it was blasphemous

A DUP-led council in Northern Ireland has called off a performance of a play after claims it was blasphemous.

The production of The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged), was due to be staged in a theatre run by the Unionist-controlled Newtownabbey council near Belfast next week.

It was cancelled following opposition from religious conservatives and with the support of Ulster Unionist mayor Fraser Agnew.

The play is produced by the Reduced Shakespeare Company (RSC) as part of a UK-wide tour.

Theatre at the Mill tweeted: "Show 'The Bible: The Complete World of God Abridged)' has been cancelled. Apologises (sic) for any inconvenience. Call box office for refund."

A spokesman for the RSC, which is performing the play at 42 venues across the UK, said it was the first time in 20 years that a performance was cancelled because of complaints.

Alliance Party councillor John Blair said the decision marked a return to the Dark Ages and turned the council into a laughing stock.