Coinciding with the Royal Shakespeare Company's announcement of changes to its contracts and schedule, which will put less emphasis on pure Shakespeare, RSC rival the English Shakespeare Company has announced that it is in discussion with organisers of the Millennium Dome at Greenwich to stage a Shakespeare marathon in 2000.

The Newcastle-based ESC's plan is to perform all of the Bard's 37 plays in a non-stop, 24-hours-a-day performance at the Dome. The Complete Works would start at 10.00AM on 23 April 2000, the anniversary of Shakespeare's birthday. With regular half-hour intervals, the marathon will take nearly a full week to complete.

ESC director Michael Bogdanov, who is currently in negotiations to secure lottery funding for the £3.5 million project, said it would be the first time that such a feat had been accomplished. The ESC also hopes to remount the marathon at venues in Newcastle.