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University to participate in annual 'Bard-a-Thon' event
1/20/09

On Monday, Jan. 26, at 4 p.m. in Room 210 of the Miller Performing Arts Center, Alfred University’s Theater Department, interested students, and community members will have the opportunity to participate in “Bard-a-Thon,” an annual event produced by the Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre (FST), Fairbanks, AL.

Folks may also listen online at the FST Web site — www.fairbanks-shakespeare.... Click on Bard-a-Thon and follow directions.

Actors in Alfred and Fairbanks will join forces to read together AU’s upcoming spring production of “The Tragedy of King Lear,” via speakerphone. This is in conjunction with a weeklong visit by British director Graham Watts, the AU Theater Department’s special guest artist, who will conduct an “Acting Shakespeare” workshop and conduct auditions for “King Lear,” which he will direct in the spring. Watts will join the theater faculty for a two-month residency in March when rehearsals for the production get fully under way.

Alfred University’s involvement in the Bard-a-Thon this year is the result of discussion among Professor Stephen Crosby, professor of theater, director Watts, and the FST organizers. Crosby, having performed regularly in FST’s summer productions over the last few years, became familiar with the event and has looked for a way to get AU involved.

“Bard-a-Thon” is celebrating its 10th year of free, round-the-clock, public readings of all of Shakespeare’s poetry and 37 plays. Over the year, Bard-a-Thon has helped FST not only reach out to its local community but also helped develop its audiences to become more familiar with the “Bard’s” works. Most importantly, it has helped turn young and old onto a playwright who has a bit of an image problem with many people today.

According to participants, what helps solve this problem is reading Shakespeare out loud. Listeners and readers from around the world annually can join in via an audio stream link live broadcast through FST’s Web site. Bard-a-Thon 2009 will be conducted Saturday, Jan. 24 through Sunday, Feb. 1.

“Through FST’s goal of worldwide outreach, Alfred’s involvement this year is a natural,” said Crosby, particularly considering the spring production of “King Lear,” which opens April 2. Crosby will perform in the title role.

For additional details on the “Bard-a-Thon,” contact Crosby at 607.871.2566, or e-mail him at fcrosby@alfred.edu. For more information of Watts, go to www.grahamwattsdirector.c....

Details on the spring production of “King Lear” at Alfred University can be obtained by calling the Division of Performing Arts Office at 607.871.2562.