Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Bush Theatre gets religion with Westminster Abbey

The Bush Theatre has teamed up with Westminster Abbey and the Kings James Bible Trust to create a unique, intimate and highly theatrical event to celebrate the 400th year anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible (KJV), a book that changed the world. In the Beginning is a creative tribute to both the book and the building and it is the first time Westminster Abbey has collaborated in this way.

Exactly four hundred years ago, in 1611, a group of scholars gathered together in the Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster Abbey to finalise their translation of the King James Version of the Bible (KJV). Subsequent centuries have seen this book become one of the most significant works of literature in the English language.

In The Beginning, a short work by Bush playwright, Nick Payne, interweaves selected extracts from the KJV with an extraordinary journey round the Abbey. It will access areas that are rarely open to the public and cast a fresh and surprising light on the Abbey itself. The script highlights some of the more idiosyncratic parts of the Abbey’s history; the fact that playwright Ben Johnson was buried standing up for he could only afford to buy one square foot of land.

As the audience travels round the building an ensemble of the country’s most talented actors will lead these intimate tours providing a uniquely theatrical experience for the audience.

The Bush Theatre’s soon to be leaving artistic director Josie Rourke said: ‘The Bush is thrilled to be part of the celebrations to commemorate this important anniversary, and celebrate this historic and beautiful text through this unique performance event in Westminster Abbey.’

This one off event will be an exciting way to experience an historic place and an historic text and will be co-directed by the Bush's Artistic Director Josie Rourke and Associate Director Christopher Haydon.

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