Rylance to perform in Romeo and Juliet

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Mark Rylance is to appear in Romeo and Juliet at the London venue that hosted the first ever performance of Twelfth Night.

Rylance, the original artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe, is to play the role of Friar Laurence in a production by Theatre of Memory, founded by his step-daughter Juliet.

The production, to run for 30 performances next autumn in London's Middle Temple Hall as part of the 2008 Temple Festival, will be Rylance's first appearance in Romeo and Juliet since playing the title role in the Royal Shakespeare Company's 1982 inaugural performance at The Swan in Stratford-upon-Avon.

It is believed that Shakespeare himself performed in the original premiere of Twelfth Night in 1602 at Middle Temple Hall.

Middle Temple Hall will also host a new production of Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas as part of the year-long festival.