Full house at Bible play in Newtownabbey

Published Wednesday, 29 January 2014
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There was a full house at Wednesday night's performance of a controversial play about the Bible which was at the centre of a censorship row in Newtownabbey.

Full house at Bible play in Newtownabbey
Theatregoers flock to the Theatre at the Mill on Wedneday. (© Pacemaker)

Last week The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) was axed amid claims from unionist councillors that it was "anti-Christian", but on Monday night Newtownabbey Council ratified the Artistic Board's u-turn decision to reinstate the scheduled performances.

The Box Office was inundated when the ban was lifted.

At the first of two sold out performances, 400 people turned out at the Theatre at the Mill for the Reduced Shakespeare Company production.

Speaking on the opening night at the theatre, co-author Austin Tichenor said he could sympathise with strong feeling on the play's topic to a point.

He said: "I understand their feelings about the Bible but I don't understand how they feel that their feelings about the Bible should supersede everyone else's feelings about the Bible and how they should dictate whether or not people should come to see a silly celebration of the Bible."

The Chairman of the Artistic Board, Alliance Councillor Billy Webb, said he had no qualms about attending the performance.

"I am very comfortable in my own faith and I have absolutely no fear to go in to this play tonight to see what the controversy was about. It has been called blasphemous - I do not believe that," he commented.

Many members of the public who turned out admitted it was the ban that had influenced them to come.

"We probably ordinarily would not have come but there was too much publicity and we did not want the council to be our moral guardians and we would make the choice to come ourselves and make our own decision based on that," one theatregoer told UTV.

Another simply said: "I am not going to be dictated as to what I can and cannot see."

Initial reviews were positive, with those leaving after the final curtain describing the play as "a good night's entertainment" and that it was "done in the best possible taste".

The Reduced Shakespeare Company play is also sold out on Thursday evening, its final date in Newtownabbey.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
thomas in newtownabbey wrote (364 days ago):
I dare them to try the same type of play based on the quran
Anonymous in Belfast wrote (365 days ago):
How tolerant must we be of the intolerant? Christianity is one-sided tolerance. I consider this nothing more than a loss of religious privilege. In an increasingly secular state; a desirable consequence.
norman.d in bangor wrote (366 days ago):
Allowing this show to go ahead has opened the door for other anti Christian shows to come here a wrong decision and I will be at the protest tonight by the church taking a stand for our Lord and the Bible
Steve in Belfast wrote (366 days ago):
A packed house?....not surprised at all - 3 reasons for this: 1) mankinds love of sin & complete disdain for the word of God 2)The councils back-peddling decision to re-open and not stand firm with the original decision to cancel it and 3)the media - you can always depend on liberal media outlets to whip-up the public....especally when it comes to things pertaining to the Christian faith!
Frank in Belfast wrote (366 days ago):
Northern Ireland the new North Korea. All the zealots have succeeded in doing is ensuring the play is a sell out.
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