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1st Vatican performance of complete Shakespeare play

January 06, 2016

A complete play by William Shakespeare will performed on Vatican territory for the first time in April, according to Nigel Baker, the United Kingdom’s ambassador to the Holy See.

In commemoration of the fourth centenary of the playwright’s death, Shakespeare’s Globe will perform Hamlet at the Palazzo della Cancelleria.

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, the ambassador recalled an embarrassing incident in 1964 in which the Royal Shakespeare Company asked Blessed Paul VI to bless a copy of the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays. The Pope, misunderstanding the request, took the folio in his hands and thanked the Company for the gift.

“It is not recorded how the First Folio was extracted back from the Pope,” wrote Baker. “Perhaps my then predecessor, the then British Minister to the Holy See Sir Peter Scarlett, had to exercise some of his well-honed diplomatic skills.”


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