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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 March, 2005, 11:53 GMT
Regions urged to back Jerry opera
Jerry Springer - The Opera
Jerry Springer - The Opera was shown on the BBC
The producer of Jerry Springer - the Opera has called on regional theatres to book the show, despite objections from a Christian group.

Christian Voice wrote to 250 theatres earlier this month urging them to boycott the controversial musical.

But the musical's producer, John Thoday, told The Stage newspaper that theatres had been largely supportive of the tour.

Jerry Springer - the Opera is due to open in Plymouth in January 2006.

'Very difficult'

Thoday told The Stage that some local authorities had expressed concerns to theatres.

Christian Voice warned theatres in the letter it would seek to prosecute them on grounds of blasphemy.

Stephen Green, the group's director, told the BBC News website they intend to prosecute theatres who go ahead with the production and hold prayer vigils outside the venues.

Thoday said: "This has been very difficult for everybody but we are absolutely determined to make it happen."

The UK's second biggest regional theatre chain, Ambassador Theatre Group, has offered its backing to the musical.


Rachel Tackley, head of programming at ATG, said: "It is our intention to programme Jerry Springer - the Opera in a number of ATG's regional venues for 2006.

"It has been a huge West End success and we look forward to bringing this multi-award winning production to a wider audience in the UK."

Jerry Springer The Opera premiered at Battersea Arts Centre, south London in 2002, before becoming a big hit at the National Theatre. After an extended run, it transferred to the Cambridge Theatre in November 2003.

The show - which is based on the Jerry Springer US talkshow - picked up a plethora of awards, including best musical at the Olivier Awards, the Critics' Circle Awards and the Evening Standard Awards.

The BBC screened the musical in January, sparking thousands of complaints before it was even aired.

The Christian Institute says the programme breached the BBC's charter and broke the Human Rights Act by discriminating against Christians. It has applied for a judicial review of the broadcast.

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