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The HandleBards

04 Jul

A fusion of cycling passion & a passionate performance

Back in January, I got a call from Paul Moss of the acting company Peculius, suggesting what I could only describe as an idea as awesome as it was crazy.

He and three other male actors were planning to cycle from Glasgow to London - a 926 mile ride -  carrying with them all the gear required to perform two of Shakespeare's plays at each stop along the way. And sleeping in tents. With no cars or support vehicles of any kind.

"Would we like to be stop number two?"

I didn't hesitate - immediately thinking that the newly completed sculpture - Love & Kisses in Helix North - would be a perfect place to host this amazing idea.

We got to planning, and it wasn't long until June snuck up on us, and I had a visit from two of The Handlebards on a pre-tour investigation of the route and the venues. Path upgrade work in Helix North meant we were forced to find an alternative venue, and we discussed various ideas before deciding on The Falkirk Wheel - a landmark outdoor performance, in front of a landmark piece of engineering, with the guys cycling in from Glasgow along the Forth & Clyde canal.

So today - the 4th of July, at 2.30pm - the first performance of Romeo & Juliet was played to an eager crowd. Not willing to shirk away from a challenge, the Bards were performing the full two hour play, and we were delighted to see an audience of all ages, with some very young people clearly captivated for the full performance.

The Performance

I did not expect this to be as brilliant as it was. Using bikes and their camping equipment as stand in cast members, Juliets Balcony, and my personal favourite, the midge tent as the veil for Romeo & Juliet's wedding, The Handlebards brought an excellent amount of humour to this world famous love story, with outstanding performances from all four cast members. It was easy to forget that they had just cycled in from Glasgow, arriving at 12.15pm to set up and prepare - as well as catch their breath!

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The evening show saw a renewed energy, and again a captivated audience. The Falkirk Wheel provided an excellent auditorium, with the visitor centre creating an amphitheatre to help with acoustics for The Handlebards, but also for the fantastic band opening the evening show. The Youth And Young provided a great start to the evening, with a thoroughly Scottish sound soaring out across The Wheel.

Not to miss out on dramatic potential, while all this was going on the unbelievably helpful team from Dawson Bike Club were performing rapid repairs to the bikes the bards rode in on. Two full wheel repairs and some brake tightening, plus a bit of TLC for the bard's trusty bike trailer (which didn't look so trustworthy!) and The Handlebards were ready to set off on the remaining 900 miles!

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We were delighted to host The Handlebards this year, and truly hope to see them again next year in front of The Kelpies.

Good luck on the rest of your journey bards, we'll see you again soon!

For details of the Handlebards journey through Britain, check out their website:

Categories: The Helix