Cardigan Town Bardathon

So, what is a bardathon? It is a week-long celebration of Shakespeare, read by anyone who wants to be sponsored to take part from whatever bit of WS’s work they are most keen on. From 8am-8pm daily, an empty shop in the town has hosted the attendance of people of all ages, to read in either Welsh or English from the Greatest of the Bards. The sponsorship is  to raise money toward refurbishing the gym, in the local school Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi, or Cardigan Senior School. That the town should respond in such a positive and successful way, has taken some by surprise. After all, how many people get round to reading a bit of Shakespeare in their spare time?  Well, all week, every day, they have come and read. Single readers had the benefit of a lectern and if they did not feel confident to do it aloud, they could in fact read sotto voce  because the point of it was not that there should always be an audience, but that the bard should be read continually throughout the week. Yesterday the whole of Macbeth was read, during the early evening, by members of Cardigan Theatre,  the local amateur dramatic society, all experienced readers, who gave an impressive turn. Today some of them were in again joining together with friends,  to read King Lear. I was there, in the small part of Cordelia. Jeffrey Summers, who read both Macbeth himself, and Lear,  was brilliant, and an inspiration to some who had never read aloud before, encouraging them to have a go, and bringing a feeling of confidence to the occasions. Many of those who read entered into the feeling of the readings, and this made it really interesting and exciting. The entire week’s readings have been overlooked by the presence of a school governor, or other volunteer and with their commitment, the whole thing has gone without a hitch. Everyone who has been in any way involved in it has found it to be an inspiring experience. The money raised has been beyond expectation and the potential for giving is not over, contributions will doubtless still be arriving  during the next week or two. The school need to have a gym in which the pupils feel good about enjoying physical pursuits, and this has been what the whole week has been toward. What a unique fund-raising opportunity, and how surprisingly popular it turned out to be. Serious congratulations are due to those who came up with the idea.

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