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Speaking Dante – 24 hours. 100 cantos. Live in Florence. Streamed across the world-Brought to you by Karma Group

Written by Staff Writer

Speaking Dante – 24 hours. 100 cantos. Live in Florence. Streamed across the world- Brought to you by Karma Group

Helen Mirren

International travel and lifestyle brand, Karma Group is sponsoring a once-in-a-lifetime live reading of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, with a cast including Ralph Fiennes, Helen Mirren, Adjoa Andoh, Jessie Buckley, Dominic West, Stephen Dillane, Rupert Everett, Ian McDiarmid, Tim McInnerny and John Nettles.

Taking place in Florence, Italy at Cinema la Compagnia over 24 hours from 19:00 (Italy time) on 13th September 2021 until 19:00 (Italy) on 14th September 2021 and streamed online worldwide, the live reading of The Divine Comedy will mark the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death and all proceeds will be entirely donated to the Community of Sant’Egidio in Florence which deals with the reception of migrants and refugees.


Filmed contributions from Adjoa Andoh, Jessie Buckley, Janie Dee, Stephen Dillane, Rupert Everett, Ralph Fiennes, Kate Fleetwood, Janet Henfrey, Ian McDiarmid, Guy Masterson-Mastroianni, Tim McInnery, Helen Mirren, John Nettles, Dominic West and Brigid Zengeni will be combined with readings from live actors on stage in Florence including Janice Acquah, Eleanor Butcher, Justin Butcher, Mary Chater, Clara Francesca, Andrew Harrison, Rupert Mason, Jan Noble, Amaka Okafor and Kenneth Omole.

Justin Butcher

This is the first time Dante’s astonishing legacy and his poem’s enduring power have been celebrated with a 24-hour marathon live reading in Florence of the whole of the Divine Comedy in the acclaimed English translation by Robert & Jean Hollander. Curated by Milan theatre producer Julia Holden, in collaboration with award-winning UK playwright Justin Butcher.

John Spence, Chairman & Founder of Karma Group which includes the exquisite Karma Borgo di Colleoli in the heart of Tuscany, commented:

“Florence plays host to a once in a lifetime production which Karma Group, a brand with continued commitment to philanthropy – and to world class entertainment, is proud to sponsor. This real world meets virtual production is a momentous cultural event and in aid of a charity doing vital work for refugees, an experience Dante himself encountered during his lifetime”

John Nettles

Speaking Dante will be hosted and live-streamed by the Cinema la Compagnia in Florence, organised by J Productions – Milan , in collaboration with Teatro della Pergola, the Municipality of Florence and the British Institute of Florence from 19:00 on Monday 13th September – 19:00 on Tuesday 14th September.

For more information:

Online streaming is available live and until 24th September:

About Dante and The Divine Comedy

700 years ago, Dante fled his home city of Florence, a refugee from civil war and political persecution.

‘I have travelled like a stranger, almost like a beggar, through virtually all the regions to which this tongue of ours extends, displaying against my will the wound of fortune … Truly I have been a ship without sail or rudder, blown … by the dry wind that painful poverty blows.’

Dante Alighieri, Convivio, circa 1304-1307

In these years of exile, Dante’s Divine Comedy was conceived.

700 years on, his epic narrative poem continues to grip the imagination of countless artists, composers, film-makers, writers and academics across the world. Translated into more than one hundred languages, The Divine Comedy stands alongside the Bible and the works of Homer and Shakespeare as one of the ultimate pillars of literary creation in human history. A dream-journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio) and Heaven (Paradiso) undertaken by the poet Dante himself, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil, in 100 cantos of some of the most sublime poetry ever written.

Echoing the theme of exile in Dante’s life and work, the producing partners have decided that Speaking Dante will be a charity fundraising event, with all proceeds going to support projects working with refugees and migrants in Italy, specifically in Florence.

About the refugee situation in Florence

In response to the new flood of refugees unleashed by events in Afghanistan, the mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, has described his city as ‘open and ready to do its part,’ writing on Twitter: ‘We will welcome the women and refugees who manage to escape from Kabul and the violence of the Taliban.’

The founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio is the internationally renowned academic, politician and human rights activist, Professor Andrea Riccardi, who is also the current President of the Dante Society, Società Dante Alighieri.

Read more about the Community’s work with migrants and refugees here:

“Tu lascerai ogne cosa diletta più caramente; e questo è quello strale che l’arco de lo essilio pria saetta.”

You shall leave everything you love most dearly: this is the arrow that the bow of exile shoots first.

Dante Alighieri, Paradiso, Canto 17, 55-57

About Karma Group

Karma Group is an award-winning international travel and lifestyle brand offering extraordinary experiences in the world’s most beautiful locations. The company is headed by Chairman and Founder, John Spence, a former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and member of the judging panel for the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year. Among his numerous other awards, John was honoured with the Edward P. Bass Honorary Fellowship at Yale University in 2019 in the School of Architecture, marking the first time Yale has extended this to the same person more than once.

The Karma Group comprises Karma Estates, Karma Resorts, Karma Retreats, Karma Royal, Karma Beach, Karma Spa, Karma Kasa, Karma Club and Karma Boutique. The Group has developed multiple resorts and is currently operating 36 resorts in more than 11 countries, including Australia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, India, Indonesia, Spain, Thailand, Vietnam and the United Kingdom, with six under development. Four of these resorts were acquired in the past six months with Karma Group demonstrating an ability to acclimatise quickly and successfully to a drastically shifting landscape, with the company choosing to focus on domestic travel markets. These new additions to the company’s ever-growing portfolio include the opulent Karma Seven Lakes in India’s romantic Udaipur, and the historic Karma Salford Hall, a property formerly owned by King Henry VIII in the English countryside. There are presently seven properties in development, with Karma Group negotiating further acquisitions in Australia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Spain and the UK.

In 2021 a series of new offerings were introduced, including a private member’s club with a difference, Karma Club, and the establishment of a brand new bespoke service for existing Karma Group members in Karma Concierge.

Karma Group is additionally involved in the world of fine wines and spirits. Since 2016, John Spence has been collaborating with key winemakers across the world to produce bottles that have formed the Karma Wines offering, from Tuscany to Bordeaux. A signature handcrafted small batch gin has also just been welcomed, a spirit crafted from botanicals sourced from the destinations where the group’s resorts, hotels, and retreats are located.

Outside of the hospitality realm, Karma Group remains a company devoted to supporting its surrounding community. Karma Group continues to run and support a number of Philanthropic initiatives worldwide under the Karma Cares banner. These include ongoing sponsorship of Bangalore non-profit Christel House India, The Bali Life Foundation for disadvantaged children, and Vietnam’s Children’s Hope In Action (CHIA), alongside involvement in ongoing scholarships and fundraisers annually.

More recently, Karma Group spearheaded the drive for mass vaccination in Bali, and joined forces with Operation Recuperation,  a UK initiative focusing on supporting front-line healthcare providers recover from the fight against Covid-19.



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