Non-stop 'Bardathon' at University of Leicester marks Diamond Jubilee year

Posted by fi17 at Jun 01, 2012 03:00 PM |
It’s a Bard Day & Night for staff and students at University of Leicester
Non-stop 'Bardathon' at University of Leicester marks Diamond Jubilee year

Two performers take a well-earned nap during the 2000 'bardathon'.

Photo opps: All take place at University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH. Contact spr@le.ac.uk for further details.

  • DRESS REHEARSAL WITH CONFIRMED CAST TAKES PLACE ON WEDNESDAY 6 JUNE FROM 2PM TO 4PM, AT THE LIBRARY PODIUM – MEDIA ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND
  •  BARDATHON STARTS AT 7AM ON MONDAY 18 JUNE-PHOTO OPP AT 8.15AM INVOLVING THE CAST OF THE COMEDY OF ERRORS - FINISH AT APPROX 4.23PM ON FRIDAY 22 JUNE

‘Bardathon’ images from 2000 available from pressoffice@le.ac.uk

  

All the campus is a stage and staff and students are merely players in a non-stop ‘Shakespeareathon’ to take place at the University of Leicester.

It marks a major contribution that the University and Union are making to The Queen’s  Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Shakespeare’s entire written works –poems and plays- will be performed chronologically in the open air over five days, with proceeds from sponsorship going to heart research.

Leicester University Theatre in the Students’ Union is spearheading the event scheduled to start at 7am on Monday 18 June with the narrative poem Venus and Adonis, followed by a Comedy of Errors at approximately 8.15am.

The Shakespearathon, consisting of some 1,200 parts,  will conclude with a recital of the Last Will and Testament on Friday 22 June, estimated at approximately 4.23pm.

Performances continue non-stop, night and day for 4 days 9½ hours, encompassing the Complete Works of Shakespeare: 40 plays and around 160+ poems.  A total of 15 students have bid to take part in each of plays/poems throughout the Bardathon.

Roger Scoppie, creative director of the project, from the University of Leicester Students’ Union, said:

“People tend to think of Shakespeare as a kind of cultural icon that needs to be treated with reverence and solemnity – LUTheatre’s first Shakespeare Marathon in 2000 showed us that that you can perform Shakespeare “off-the-cuff” for fun and get real insights from the experience.

“In the sound-bite world of the 21st century it’s assumed you need to “reduce Shakespeare” to make him accessible. But here we have a core team of 15 young people who are going to immerse themselves in Shakespeare for 5 days, non-stop. They’ll be climbing the twin peaks of Hamlet and King Lear, and strolling though the forests of As You Like It and Midsummer Night’s Dream - but they’ll also be exploring the unfamiliar landscapes of Henry VI and Cymbeline. They’ll make some exciting discoveries on the way: Here Be Monsters!

“The Bardathon is being staged under the twin aegises of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages project. We’ll be performing in the open air to passers-by and people sitting in the sun, drinking their coffee. If we don’t deliver exciting performances our audience will just walk away.

“We’ll be performing the plays in the order that Shakespeare wrote them, and I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how actors develop their characters as they reappear from play to play.  Claudia Glover will be playing Margaret of Anjou for 12 hours across 4 plays (the Henry VI trilogy and Richard III), starting off as a young French princess and ending up as the Mother-in-law from Hell. Ben Rushton will be playing John, Duke of Lancaster in Henry VI pt 1 on Monday afternoon (18 June) and then jumping back in time in the early hours of Wednesday morning (20 June) to play his younger self in the prequels, Henry IV pts 1 & 2 and Henry V.

“Of course, you have to do some preparation in advance: there are nearly 100 songs in the 40 plays, and – unless you’re going to try rapping them all – you’ve got to track down the music and learn all the tunes.

“In 2000 we filmed the entire Marathon – on VHS tape. This time we’re looking to stream video of the whole performance live on the internet. So, while we may not have many people sitting in front of us watching All’s Well That Ends Well at 3 o’clock on Thursday morning – we’ll keep our spirits up by thinking of our audiences in Tokyo and San Francisco.”

Lily Portman, LUTheatre’s Vice-President said: “The Shakespeare Marathon promises to be one of the highlights of my year. It's going to be fantastic to work alongside some talented actors who will be just as exhausted as I will! It will be tiring acting in all the plays but well worth the experience. It's not often you get to take part in something so insane!"

Lily, a first year English and American Studies student from Worcester,  will be performing in all 40 plays, and her roles currently include Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Juliet in Measure for Measure.

Funds raised from the event will be presented to the University of Leicester Cardiovascular Research Centre Appeal to complete and equip a new £12.6m research centre at the Glenfield Hospital, the regional centre for secondary and specialist cardiac care.  More information at http://www2.le.ac.uk/alumni/crcappeal/crcpage#the-appeal

 

For more information on the Bardathon, including a schedule of the times of performance, see http://shakespeare-lutheatre.blogspot.co.uk/ 

 

Ends

Notes to Editors: More information from Roger Scoppie on email spr@le.ac.uk

Lily Portman, LUTheatre’s Vice-President: lmp16@leicester.ac.uk 

The Marathon will start with a solo reading of the poem "Venus and Adonis". The first play involving a full cast will be The Comedy of Errors - starting at 8:15am, Monday 18th June; that would probably make a better photo.

We'll maintain a blog at http://shakespeare-lutheatre.blogspot.co.uk/ where we'll keep track of any variations from the schedule- The Bardathon  is scheduled to end around 4.30 pm Friday 22nd June

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