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NI councillors fail to ban Bible play

07 February 2014

demotix

A COMIC play that some Christians on Newtownabbey Borough Council, in Northern Ireland, tried to ban last week has gone ahead. After the council's decision, the demand for tickets caused the theatre's website to crash.

The Bible: The complete word of God (abridged),  by the Reduced Shakespeare Company, was staged at the Theatre at the Mill, which is administered by the local authority, to packed houses in a two-nightrun. An attempt by DUP councillors on the authority's artistic board to have it cancelled on the groundsof blasphemy failed. Protesters(left) sang hymns outside thevenue.

Although the board originally succeeded, another vote was taken in the face of public reaction to the move. Two DUP councillors, Audrey Ball and Thomas Hogg, continued to object, describing the play as crude and blasphemous. A Sinn Féin councillor, Gerard O'Reilly, said that he felt that "there was an abuse of position, bringing religion into the Chamber."

The DUP as a party had by then distanced itself from the actions of its members on the council, while an Alliance councillor, Tom Campbell, said that the opposing members on the artistic board had been "bitten very badly" by public reaction.

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