Royal Bard

Welcome to the playlist for the Atlantian Royal Bard Competition for Twelfth Night 2021! Please enjoy the performances by our six competitors (in order of entry): Ciaran mac Breandain, Ishmael Stedfast Reed, Kame Gusukuma, Nezhka Orshinaia, Hákon hábrok, and Sophia the Orange.

To respect each bard's rights, all videos will be made private after Twelfth Night 2021, so enjoy while you can!


Atlantian bards! As one year ends and another is beginning, it is time for the King’s and Queen’s Bards to step down from their role. Thus, we must seek our replacement(s) in a manner suited to this most unusual time.

Based on the excellent challenge set by our predecessors, Ollam Lanea verch Kerrigan and Laurel Faye de Trees, we ask for three pieces to be performed, recorded, and submitted to this competition:

  1. A period piece
  2. A new-to-you piece
  3. A piece that challenges or inspires you

The total performance should be 15 minutes or less.

We also ask competitors to include a brief statement (2-5 sentences) about how they view the role of a Royal Bard during this modern plague, because our usual performance spaces have been eliminated for safety of all, and may not be possible for a long time due to the respiratory nature of transmission.

All entries should be submitted in video format by December 23 via a submission form (which will be released in the near future). Finalists may be asked to perform during Atlantian Twelfth Night on January 9 (time TBD). The new Royal Bard(s) will be announced at Twelfth Night Court.

Connecting with an audience is critical for a Royal Bard, who serves Their Majesties and the Atlantian populace during their tenure. It is also a particular challenge during virtual performances. The better you connect with your audience, the higher your score. (Bonus points if you make Ela cry or laugh out loud). To help this, an attempt at atmosphere should be made in the video (garb, at minimum, is required). While entries will not be judged for their technical skills, care should be taken to have clear audio with minimal background noise.

Documentation is required for the period piece. Documentation should cover information about the culture that produced the original, its place and date of composition/creation, and information about the author of the piece if possible. For pieces in languages other than English, translation into English is strongly encouraged. All documentation should be properly annotated and should include a bibliography documenting multiple sources researched by the performer. If documentation is also appropriate for other pieces, we would love to see and review it.

Competitors are encouraged to demonstrate their skills in multiple performance styles. Sing, recite poetry, play an instrument, demonstrate acting ability. Show us the breadth and depth of your talent. The broader your abilities, the higher your score.

Original pieces are encouraged as well. A competitor may pen an original translation of a period piece, write an original song or poem about a historical event, a myth, or an occurrence or aspect of SCA culture, compose an original instrumental piece, or produce some other bardic work that displays your talents as you see fit. The more creative and talented you are, the higher your score.

We encourage performers to be off book for all three pieces if possible. Memorization is important to both royal bards as a demonstration of personal investment in a piece. The better you know your pieces, the higher your score.

Participants are encouraged to fully embody a character during the performance. Costuming, demeanor, acting ability, and a sense of maintaining “enchanted ground” during your performance can all gain you additional points.

If you have any questions, you can contact the King’s Bard, Ela (Elysse Meredith) or the Queen’s Bard, Gideon (Steve Shell).

Please submit entry and also submit a SCA Creative Release Form.

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