London's Globe Theater Ups Security Ahead of Israeli Performances

Pro-Palestinian activists are planning to disrupt the London performances of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice by Israel's Habima Theater.

Anshel Pfeffer
Anshel Pfeffer
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Anshel Pfeffer
Anshel Pfeffer

The Globe Theater in London has published a unprecedented set of security and order rules which will be in effect during the two performances of Habima at the theater next week. Pro-Palestinian activists who tried to pressure the Globe to cancel its invitation to Israel's national theater, are planning to disrupt the performances of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.

Habima will performing in Hebrew as part of the Globe To Globe festival, in which all of Shakespeare's 37 plays will be produced by theater companies from around the world, in their native tongues. The Globe, on the southern bank of the Thames has come under attack both by the BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) movement and a number of leading theatrical figures in Britain, for inviting Habima. The pro-Palestinian activists have targeted Habima for its performances in the new concert hall at the West Bank settlement of Ariel. While the Globe has not cancelled its plans to host Habima, following discussions with London's Metropolitan Police, it issued this morning an unprecedented list of regulations regarding security and maintenance of order during the performances next Monday and Tuesday.

Among other procedures, the entrance to the theater will be only through one of its gates and ticket holders are requested to arrive early since they will have to undergo "extensive checks of bags and audience members" which are to include "random body searches." The Globe management stressed that it "reserves the right to refuse admission to anyone we have reason to believe may cause a disruption to the performance." All the three thousand tickets for both performances have been sold and it is assumed that many of the buyers are protestors who are planning to shout and heckle during the play.

In addition, the theater announced that "the use of any annoying, disruptive or dangerous behavior, foul or abusive language or obscene gestures, the removal of shirts or clothing likely to cause offence and climbing onto any building/wall or other structure is forbidden and may result in ejection."

The new Habima Theater building in Tel Aviv. Credit: Aviad Bar Ness



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