Culture of Great Britain

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Much goes on in the city at festival time and many organisations produce a bewildering complexity of events to cater for all tastes from bicycle races and beer gardens to a mammoth one day festival of folk and blues.

The Chichester Theatre Festival

The fame achieved by the Edinburgh Festival, to say nothing of the large number of visitors that it brings every year to the Scottish capital, has encouraged many other towns in Britain to organise similar festivals. Those at Bath, Cheltenham and Aldeburgh have all become considerable artistic successes, even if they haven't brought as much business to these towns as the local shopkeepers had hoped for.

The latest festival town to join the list is Chichester, which has earned a great deal of prestige by building, in record time, a large theatre holding over one thousand five hundred people. Here will be held each year a theatre festival in which many stars from the London stage will be eager to participate.

The first season scored a considerable success. The repertoire consisted of an old English comedy, a sixteenth- century tragedy and a production of Chekhov's “Uncle Vanya” in which every part was taken by a top star.

But the chief interest of the Chichester Festival is the new theatre itself, which has an apron stage. Most of you will know that the apron stage, which was common in Shakespeare's day, projects out into the auditorium. With an apron stage there is no proscenium arch, or stage sets of the kind we are used to in the modern theatre. This calls for the use of an entirely different technique on the part both of the players, who have their audience on three sides of them instead of just in front, and the producer. The players must make proper use of their voices, which, to a generation accustomed to mumbling into microphones, is not easy.

Chichester itself is a small country town in the heart of Sussex, and the theatre stands on the edge of a beautiful park. Unlike Glyndebourne where the entire audience wears evening dress, the clothes worn by the audience at Chichester are much less formal; but as the festival is held in the summer the pretty frocks of the women make an attractive picture as they stand and gossip outside the theatre during the intervals, or snatch hasty refreshments from their cars in the park.

The Welsh Eisteddfod

No country in the world has a greater love of music and poetry than the people of Wales. Today, Eisteddfod is held at scores of places throughout Wales, particularly from May to early November. The habit of holding similar events dates back to early history and there are records of competitions for Welsh poets and musicians in the twelfth century. The Eisteddfod sprang from the Gorsedd, or National Assembly of Bards. It was held occasionally up to 1819, but since then has become an annual event for the encouragement of Welsh literature and music and the preservation of the Welsh language and ancient national customs.

The Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales is held annually early in August, in North and South Wales alternately, its actual venue varying from year to year. It attracts Welsh people from all over the world. The programme includes male and mixed choirs, brass-band concerts, many children's events, drama, arts and crafts and, of course, the ceremony of the Crowning of the Bard.

Next in importance is the great Llangollen International Music Eisteddfod, held early in July and attended by competitors from many countries, all wearing their picturesque and often colourful national costumes. It is an event probably without parallel anywhere in the world. There are at least twenty-five other major Eisteddfods from May to November.

In addition to the Eisteddfod, about thirty major Welsh Singing Festivals are held throughout Wales from May until early November.

The Edinburgh Festival

It is a good thing that the Edinburgh Festival hits the Scottish Capital outside term time. Not so much because the University hostels - and students’digs - are needed of provide accommodation for Festival visitors but because this most exhilarating occasion allows no time for anything mundane. It gives intelligent diversion for most of the twenty - four hours each weekday in its three weeks (it is not tactful to ask about Sundays - you explore the surrounding terrain then). The programmes always include some of the finest chamber music ensemble and soloists in the world. There are plenty of matinees; evening concerts, opera, drama and ballet performances usually take place at conventional times - but the floodlit Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle obviously doesn't start till after dusk, and late night entertainments and the Festival Club can take you into the early hours of the morning.

Реферат опубликован: 3/08/2009