Christian groups yesterday pledged to stage protests outside Birmingham Hippodrome's Theatre when it stages the controversial show Jerry Springer - the Opera early next year.
The theatre?s decision to go ahead with the performances has angered religious groups which claim the show is blasphemous. The production, which features Jesus in a nappy and described as ?a bit gay?, will run for two weeks from February 6.
Christian Voice mounted protests during its two-year run at the Cambridge Theatre in London and also led a demonstration outside the BBC?s Birmingham Mailbox headquarters when a version was aired on television. The group is pursuing a prosecution against the BBC for blasphemy.
Christian Voice spokesman Derek Evans, a retired teacher from Cannock, Staffordshire, said: ?My gut feeling is that there will be protests - we are just as much against this as before and our feelings need to be made known.
?The Birmingham Hippodrome is a mainstream theatre and it is certainly not the place for a sick production like this.?
He claimed the show had attracted dwindling audiences in the West End and questioned the commercial wisdom of staging it at the Hippodrome.
Hippodrome chief executive Stuart Griffiths defended the decision to stage it, saying the theatre had been in talks with producers of the show before any protests.
He said its pedigree - a six-month run at the National Theatre, two years in the West End and a string of awards - met the Hippodrome?s criteria for any production.
?We have staged controversial productions in the past. It won?t be the first time we?ve staged a show with bad language - Miss Saigon has bad language. As for ?blasphemy?, that?s for people to make up their own minds. Freedom of speech is a very important issue.?
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