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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 June 2006, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Religion at the heart of Fringe
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The Fringe was originally a spin-off of the city's International Festival
Religion has emerged as the main theme at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, including two shows featuring Jesus as a stand-up comedian.

"Clearly it's a very personal subject that artists and writers currently feel a particular need to explore," said festival director Paul Gudgin.

The annual Fringe, now in its 60th year, will put on 1,867 shows in 261 venues between 6-28 August.

Plays include We Don't Know Shi'ite, about the ignorance surrounding Islam.

"It is always interesting when particular issues come to the fore in the Fringe programme," said Mr Gudgin.

"At the 2002 Fringe we felt a massive response to September 11, while in 2005 the War on Terror was a central point of inspiration for many shows."

Megan Dodds as Rachel Corrie (image courtesy of the Royal Court theatre)
My Name is Rachel Corrie played at the Royal Court in London in 2005

According to Jesus, and Jesus: The Guantanamo Years both feature Jesus Christ as a comic.

Bible Babel Live! will give Fringe-goers the opportunity to see the Bible read from start to finish in 80 hours over 10 days including readings in English, Greek and Chinese.

Other religious-based productions include Petrol Jesus Nightmare, an apocalyptic thriller about the violent consequences of faith from the Traverse Theatre Company.

Breaking the Pope centres on the infamous Magdalene laundries, the essentially religious-run workhouses for women in Ireland that are said to have existed until the mid-90s.

Moving away from religion, Stewart Lee directs Talk Radio, his first play since the controversial Jerry Springer - The Opera, while Jim Henson's Puppet Improv features a children's version and an adult-only version.

Actor Alan Rickman will direct My Name is Rachel Corrie, about the 23-year-old American peace activist who was killed by an Israeli Army bulldozer in Gaza in 2003.

Tickets for the shows go on sale on 12 June.

See some of the performers who will be at the Fringe

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