It’s Therapeutic Thursday! Did you know…
* 1953 – Shakespeare’s Richard the Third opens the first season of the Stratford Festival in a tent. (A committee of prominent Stratford citizens was formed in the meantime, which soon developed into the Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada Foundation.
At the advice of leading Canadian director Dora Mavor Moore, Patterson contacted world-renowned director Tyrone Guthrie at his home in Ireland and interested him in the idea. Intrigued, Guthrie came to Canada in July 1952 to check things out. Rather than a committee “mainly of artistic and excitable elderly ladies of both sexes, with a sprinkling of Business Men to restrain the Artistic People from spending money… ”, he was surprised to find a committee of mainly young business and professional men and women, many of whom had no link with the artistic community. Guthrie was impressed that he would be given a free hand to develop all aspects of the theater.
This gave Guthrie the opportunity to fulfill his dream of building a thrust stage that would emulate one of the key features of Shakespeare’s theater. At Guthrie’s suggestion, designer Tanya Moiseiwitsch and leading actor Alec Guinness were signed on, and subsequently leading actress Irene Worth – all at the height of their careers. Their eager participation in the risky venture gave much support to the professional status of the new theater. Other than two other actors brought from Britain, the rest of the cast and crew were Canadians, chosen in auditions held across the country.
Credit is due to those Stratford citizens who stuck with the project through its highs and lows, especially contractor Oliver Gaffney, whose firm, Gaffney Construction, proceeded to complete the foundation and the stage of the theater without any guarantee that they would ever be paid. About two months before the July 13, 1953 opening, the whole project was almost called off, but it was decided to proceed on faith. In the end, the first season was so successful that it was extended from four weeks to six and had a deficit of only $4,000, despite exceeding the original budget of $150,000 by $60,000. Every performance was sold out, and some were oversold,
requiring extra chairs to be placed in the aisles and along the edge of the stage.
* 1985 Live Aid concert. (On July 13, 1985, at Wembley Stadium in London, Prince Charles and Princess Diana officially open Live Aid, a worldwide rock concert organized to raise money for the relief of famine-stricken Africans. Continued at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia and at other arenas around the world, the 16-hour “superconcert” was globally linked by satellite to more than a billion viewers in 110 nations. In a triumph of technology and good will, the event raised more than $125 million in famine relief for Africa.
Live Aid was the brainchild of Bob Geldof, the singer of an Irish rock group called the Boomtown Rats. In 1984, Geldof traveled to Ethiopia after hearing news reports of a horrific famine that had killed hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians and threatened to kill millions more. After returning to London, he called Britain’s and Ireland’s top pop artists together to record a single to benefit Ethiopian famine relief. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” was written by Geldof and Ultravox singer Midge Ure and performed by “Band Aid,” an ensemble that featured Culture Club, Duran Duran, Phil Collins, U2, Wham!, and others. It was the best-selling single in Britain to that date and raised more than $10 million.
“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” was also a No. 1 hit in the United States and inspired U.S. pop artists to come together and perform “We Are the World,” a song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie. “USA for Africa,” as the U.S. ensemble was known, featured Jackson, Ritchie, Geldof, Harry Belafonte, Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, and many others. The single went to the top of the charts and eventually raised $44 million.
With the crisis continuing in Ethiopia, and the neighboring Sudan also stricken with famine, Geldof proposed Live Aid, an ambitious global charity concert aimed at raising more funds and increasing awareness of the plight of many Africans. Organized in just 10 weeks, Live Aid was staged on Saturday, July 13, 1985. More than 75 acts performed, including Elton John, Madonna, Santana, Run DMC, Sade, Sting, Bryan Adams, the Beach Boys, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Queen, Duran Duran, U2, the Who, Tom Petty, Neil Young, and Eric Clapton. The majority of these artists performed at either Wembley Stadium in London, where a crowd of 70,000 turned out, or at Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium, where 100,000 watched. Thirteen satellites beamed a live television broadcast of the event to more than one billion viewers in 110 countries. More than 40 of these nations held telethons for African famine relief during the broadcast.)
* 1793 Charlotte Corday assassinates Marat. (Jean Paul Marat, one of the most outspoken leaders of the French Revolution, is stabbed to death in his bath by Charlotte Corday, a Royalist sympathizer.
Originally a doctor, Marat founded the journal L’Ami du Peuple in 1789, and its fiery criticism of those in power was a contributing factor to the bloody turn of the Revolution in 1792. With the arrest of the king in August of that year, Marat was elected as a deputy of Paris to the Convention. In France’s revolutionary legislature, Marat opposed the Girondists–a faction made up of moderate republicans who advocated a constitutional government and continental war.
By 1793, Charlotte Corday, the daughter of an impoverished aristocrat and an ally of the Girondists in Normandy, came to regard Marat as the unholy enemy of France and plotted his assassination. Leaving her native Caen for Paris, she had planned to kill Marat at the Bastille Day parade on July 14 but was forced to seek him out in his home when the festivities were canceled. On July 13, she gained an audience with Marat by promising to betray the Caen Girondists. Marat, who had a persistent skin disease, was working as usual in his bath when Corday pulled a knife from her bodice and stabbed him in his chest. He died almost immediately, and Corday waited calmly for the police to come and arrest her. She was guillotined four days later.)
* 1798 Wordsworth visits Tintern Abbey. (While on a walking tour, William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy visit a ruined church called Tintern Abbey.
The ruins inspired Wordsworth’s poem “Tintern Abbey,” in which Wordsworth articulated some of the fundamental themes of Romantic poetry, including the restorative power of nature. The poem appeared in Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems in 1798, which Wordsworth collaborated on with his friend and fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The book, which also included Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, sold out within two years. The book’s second edition included an important preface that articulated the Romantic Manifesto.
Wordsworth was born near England’s Lake District in 1770. He lost his mother when he was eight, and his father died five years later. Wordsworth attended Cambridge, then traveled in Europe, taking long walking tours with friends through the mountains. During his 20s, Wordsworth lived with his sister Dorothy and became close friends with Coleridge.
In 1802, after years of living on a modest income, Wordsworth came into a long-delayed inheritance from his father and was able to live comfortably with his sister. He married their longtime neighbor Mary Hutchinson and had five children. The poet’s stature grew steadily, although most of his major work was written by 1807. In 1843, he was named poet laureate of England, and he died in 1850, at the age of 80.)
* 1930 First World Cup. (On July 13, 1930, France defeats Mexico 4-1 and the United States defeats Belgium 3-0 in the first-ever World Cup football matches, played simultaneously in host city Montevideo, Uruguay. The World Cup has since become the world’s most watched sporting event.
After football (soccer, to Americans) was dropped from the program for the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, FIFA President Jules Rimet helped to organize an international tournament in 1930. Much to the dismay of European footballers, Uruguay, winner of back-to-back gold medals at the 1924 Paris Olympics and 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, was chosen to host the inaugural World Cup.
Due to depression in Europe, many European players, afraid their day jobs would not exist when they returned, were either unable or unwilling to attend the tournament. As a result, some of the most accomplished European teams, including three-time Olympic gold medalist England and football enthusiasts Italy, Spain, Germany, and Holland did not make an appearance at the first World Cup. However, when Uruguay agreed to help pay traveling expenses, Rimet was able to convince Belgium, France, Romania, and Yugoslavia to make the trip. In Romania, King Carol selected the team members himself, gave them a three-month vacation from their jobs and guaranteed the players would be employed when they returned.
Going into the tournament, Uruguay and Argentina were the overwhelming favorites, while France and the United States also fielded competitive sides. In the first round, France’s Lucien Laurent scored the first-ever World Cup goal. In its second game, France lost to Argentina 1-0 amid controversy over the referees ending the game six minutes early. Once the problem was discovered, the referees had to bring the Argentine players back onto the field to play the final minutes. After beating Belgium, the United States beat Paraguay to set up a semi-final match with Argentina, which they lost 6-1. Still, the semi-final placement was the best U.S. World Cup finish to date.
In the first World Cup final, held on July 30, 1930, 93,000 spectators looked on as Uruguay defeated Argentina 4–2 in a rematch of the 1928 Olympic gold medal game. Uruguay went on to win its second World Cup in 1950 with a 2-1 win over Brazil in Rio de Janeiro.)
* Canadian History Timeline – Canada’s Historical Chronology http://canadachannel.ca/todayincanadianhistory/index.php
* This Day In History – What Happened Today http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/
* Stratford Festival Of Canada http://www.visitstratford.ca/uploads/stratfordfestival.pdf