Glenn L. Dobbs
Artistic Director & Executive Producer of Bard Fest
If I am being honest, all of this is Tom Cardwell’s fault. I ran into Tom at a IRT costume sale a few years ago. I was there looking for costumes for a production of Romeo and Juliet by First Folio Productions. I was searching, like other theatre groups in town, for a stable and consistent location for my group. Tom’s group, Eclectic Pond, like my own, specialized in Shakespeare and I admired his work. As we were talking Tom commented, “What this town needs is a Shakespeare festival.”
And so began this journey. While it is true to do theatre you need great actors and a good story, in reality it is all about relationships and networking. A single person simply does not have the time, talent, and resources to mount such a large project. You need help and a lot of it. Over the years a collaboration developed with local theatre groups and artists that grew and evolved to the festival you see today. Everyone played a important role and left their mark on the project. And that is how it should be because theatre, more than any other medium, is a collaborative art.
However, if I have to single out a person who was key to making all of this happen it would be Mr John Clair. John had a small theatre in Carmel and a big heart. When I went to him years ago with the idea he immediately embraced it. It was John who gave us the home, financing, and administrative expertise to get us started. He took a big risk with me. It was John’s leadership and gentle wisdom that became our compass for the festival. John guided us home. I am forever grateful.
I get asked a lot, “Why do you go to all of this trouble?” There is no money in it and more than a few headaches in keeping all the plates spinning. For me the answer lies in the writing of Tom Schulman from his award winning screenplay.
Schulman writes -
“We don't read and write poetry because it's cute.
We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.
And the human race is filled with passion.
Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are all noble pursuits,
and necessary to sustain life.
But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
To quote from Whitman:
‘O me, o life
of the questions of these recurring, of the
endless trains of the faithless, of cities
filled with the foolish. What good amid
these, o me, o life? Answer: that you are
here. That life exists, and identity.
That the powerful play goes on, and you
may contribute a verse. That the powerful
play goes on and you may contribute a verse.
What will your verse be?’”
I am so grateful you are here. Welcome!