First-ever Juneau Bard-A-Thon begins March 8

The Juneau Public Library will host a free community reading of the complete works of William Shakespeare -- a Bard-A-Thon -- 24 hours a day for eight days from March 8-15. The Bard-A-Thon is being organized in conjunction with the Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre, Perseverance Theatre, and the Friends of the Library, and is the first time this kind of event has been undertaken in Juneau.


Everyone is invited to participate by listening or reading aloud during this event, which will be held at the Downtown Juneau Public Library, the Douglas Library and Perseverance Theatre. Those interested in reading can sign up in advance by emailing; however, sign up is not required to participate.

Library patrons from across the state can also participate through the OWL (Online with Libraries) video-conference system.

Bruce Rogers, artistic director for the Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre, put together the first Bard-A-Thon in Alaska after taking a bus trip across the US and reading Shakespeare’s complete works. He has now organized more than 17 different Bard-A-Thons in Fairbanks and other communities. Rogers believes that reading Shakespeare aloud helps people better understand the poetry and rhythm of the language.

Robert Barr, director for the Juneau Public Libraries, is particularly interested in seeing young people participate.

“This is a great opportunity to become more familiar with the works of one of the best playwrights throughout history, all without having to get up on stage,” Barr said in a release.

Beth Weigel, program coordinator for the Juneau Public Libraries, will be organizing class visits for the event and hopes to see it become an annual event.

In total, 39 different plays, 100 sonnets, and two poems by Shakespeare will be read aloud during Bard-A-Thon. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 8 at the downtown library with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Attendees are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite Shakepearian character or in period costume.

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