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Israeli actors to join Globe Shakespeare festival

    Israeli and Palestinian actors will be appearing on stage at London's Globe Theatre as part of an international William Shakespeare festival.

    From April next year performers from 37 countries will be appearing in 37 of the Bard's plays in 37 different languages. It is a feat that has never yet been achieved.

    The Israeli National Theatre will be taking on Shylock with a Hebrew adaptation of The Merchant of Venice, while the Palestinian Ashtar Theatre company will perform Richard II.

    The six-week event will also see an Urdu Taming of the Shrew and a Belarussian King Lear, as well as a performance of Cymbeline by the fledgling independent state of South Sudan.

    Dominic Dromgoole, the Globe's artistic director, said Shakespeare's work had "become an international language".

    "It has proved one of the most life-affirming and barrier transcending ways that people can speak to one another," he said. "His plays have been translated into every major living language and there is a long tradition of Shakespeare performances around the world in people's own vernacular."

    The festival, which opens on Shakespeare's birthday (and the day he died), has ben arranged to coincide with the year of the London Olympics.

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