On Friday, March 15, Richmond Shakespeare will bring together over 90 high school theater students from across Central Virginia to Richmond CenterStage for the fourth annual Bardathon - an innovative theater festival featuring the work of The Bard, William Shakespeare. The 2013 Bardathon will feature A Comedy of Errors.
Each of the nine participating school groups have selected one or more scenes each from A Comedy of Errors to prepare. Students have been working for weeks to memorize lines and create their props and set pieces. Throughout the entire morning of March 15, participating Bardathon students will rehearse scene specifics - including cues, entrances, exits, and lines - in CenterStage's Genworth BrightLights Education Center. At noon, these students will gather in CenterStage's Gottwald Playhouse to present their respective scenes, and the play, in its sequential entirety.
Additionally, for the third year in a row, students from School 213 in St. Petersburg, Russia, will participate in the event via live webcast on RichmondCenterStage.com beginning at noon (8:00 p.m. local time in St. Petersburg) and running until approximately 3:30 p.m.
In 2012, six Russian students traveled to Richmond to participate in person. This year, they will submit their scene in advance, which will be played in the appropriate sequence of the play, and will watch live from Russia.
"This event has always been about collaborating with one another towards a common goal and interpreting Shakespeare's works in new and differing ways," said Cynde Liffick, Director of Education for Richmond Shakespeare. "This event also encourages students to perform on a level playing field, recognizing everyone's unique and collective talents."
Richmond Shakespeare feels that this collaborative approach exemplifies one of theater's strongest assets: its ability to unify. Historically, high school theater students are fiercely competitive, whether it involves actors competing for the same roles or among competing schools at theater competitions.
Bardathon's ultimate goal is to bring diverse students together to celebrate the joy of playing some of the richest and most
interesting characters ever written in the English language. By performing for one another, students can both learn from and share with each other.
Bardathon is produced in partnership with Richmond CenterStage and sponsored by the Richmond Chapter of the English-Speaking Union, with in-kind assistance from Ukrop's Homestyle Foods.
"Richmond CenterStage is so pleased to be partnering with Richmond Shakespeare for the third year in a row," said Janet Krogman, Director of Education at Richmond CenterStage. "The event is such a natural alignment to the education mission of each of our organizations, and through the capabilities of our Digital Arts Learning Center we are able to provide greater access to this unique theater collaboration for teachers and students, making it a truly international event."
Nine schools are participating in this year's event, including:
Appomattox Regional Governor's School
Atlee High School (Hanover County)
Deep Run High School (Henrico County)
Monacan High School (Chesterfield County)
Matoaca High School (Chesterfield County)
Open High School (City of Richmond)
Richmond Community High School (City of Richmond)
Thomas Dale High School (Chesterfield County)
School 213 (St. Petersburg, Russia)