Fun for Northshield’s Bardic Madness

First, what is a challenge?

  1. A challenge is NOT a contest or competition.  Everyone who enters wins.
  2. Sign-up sheets will be available  on site Saturday morning.   There are a limited number of performances in each challenge.  You’re welcome to sign beneath the lines,  but there’s no guarantee that there will be time for such additions.
  3. Please sign up for no more than three challenges – at least until everybody else has had a chance to sign in. Then you can go wild.
  4. Please limit your performance time to 3 to 7 minutes.   (We know it was hard work to memorize Beowulf in the original Klingon, but we don’t have all day!)
  5. This is a family-friendly place.  If you really want to perform a bawdy piece, wait until after midnight.
  6. This is a bardic safe space.  Take chances, be creative, don’t worry if you miss a line (we’ve all done it),  put your heart into it.. . and above all, have fun.
  7. Don’t forget to greet your patron after your performance.  They’ll  have a present for you.

Applications for “patrons” will be accepted at


Challenge Descriptions

Here unfolds the tale.  Master Dahrien will begin a story, which will be continued by participants as he points to them.  Extra points shall be awarded to participants who include a phrase from Shakespeare’s lexicon.*

Brush up your Shakespeare – the bard, scribe illuminator challenge.  Create an illuminated manuscript on site. We will provide a bit of parchment, some paints & markers if you don’t bring your own.  The text may be written on site, or may be written for the Shakespearean Sonnet challenge. This challenge is best done by a team.

Dramatis personae.  Introduce yourself as a Shakespearean character, without naming names.  Allow the audience to guess who you are.

Avonwood calling – Some of us know it’s “Avon calling” when someone rings the doorbell and tries to sell you cosmetics.  Give us an advertisement in any medium (short of a billboard) for one of the period props that we will provide.

The play’s the thing – Present a 5 minute (or less) summary of a Shakespeare play.  It may be done as a solo act or with a company of players.

A Marshall Martial Ayre – Her (Present) Highness Aibhilin has offered to play percussion for an  “upbeat marching song for the kingdom”.  The Knowne World Bardcast is also looking for songs, stories or poems from folks for whom martial pursuits are their primary activity in the SCA. Clearly, we need a new marching song, and it could be yours.

All around the Globe – perform a piece (any medium) from some distant or exotic land, or at least in a language other than English.

A Shakespearean Sonnet.    A class on these sonnets will be taught in the morning.  The sonnets may be used for “Brush up your Shakespeare” or performed on their own.

 “May the fourth” be with you  – write and perform a piece which involves “four” (or forth or fourth) in some way.

The king is a fink! – Introduce us to one of Shakespeare’s villains using any format (including dance, mime, poetry).  John Julius Norwich’s book Shakespeare’s Kings might help.

Plentiful Praises – Tell us about someone you admire; someone who inspires you. It could be a period fictional character or someone in your SCA group. Or it might be a teacher who set you on your path; or a youngster who exemplifies a trait you respect.

Word Salad – We’ll provide you with a list of words at the beginning of the day (some of which might have been coined by Shakespeare).  Use some of them to construct a poem, song, or even an essay, and perform it for us. (Please do NOT attempt to use all of them!)

Brush up your Shakespeare (Bard scribe illuminator).  Read the text and show us the illuminated document.  If this has been a group project, be sure that everyone is acknowledged.


* The points don’t mean anything, and nobody will count them, but why not go for the gold?

If we have extra time, we may sneak in another challenge.