Page last updated at 16:11 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Romeo and Juliet get knife advice

Scene from 1978 BBC production of Romeo and Juliet
The handling of the play's knife deaths have tested directors for centuries

The director of a new production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet has met police for advice on how to avoid glamorising knife crime in the play.

A spokeswoman for Shakespeare's Globe theatre said the meeting with senior Met officers proved helpful for director Bill Buckhurst.

Romeo and Juliet is a tale of warring families and includes three stabbings.

The play, to be staged at the theatre on London's Southbank, is a free production for 10,000 14-year-olds.

Fatal stabbings

"Part of (Mr Buckhurst's) research was trying to get under the skin of the people who work on the ground with young people in London," spokeswoman Katharine Grice said of the meeting.

She said that while the play's contents would not be modified to minimise the knife crime, the director and his company would also be aware of the need to not glamorise the violence.

"We wanted to meet with police as part of our longstanding relationship with them," Ms Grice said, stressing that the production team was not concerned that the story could fuel knife crime.

The production is aimed specifically at teenagers in their third year and expects to welcome teenagers from across London during the week of 9 to 13 March, ahead of the regular season for the thatched-roof theatre.

In the play, feuding between the Capulet and Montague families leads to three fatal stabbings and ultimately to Juliet committing suicide with Romeo's dagger.

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