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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 August, 2004, 13:37 GMT 14:37 UK
Language knocks out Punch and Judy
Mr T Ricks and a baby
The clown said he had made his show bilingual
A children's show at one of the biggest cultural festivals in Wales was stopped because it was not in Welsh.

Mr T Ricks, whose Punch and Judy show was being translated into Welsh at the National Eisteddfod in Newport, south Wales, had been invited there by a charity.

Eisteddfod officials said the performance broke its all-Welsh rule, which stallholders had been told about.

But the entertainer said he was angry the rule was being so strictly enforced in what is largely an English-speaking area.

We made the performance bilingual but it still wasn't good enough for the officials
Mr T Ricks, performer
He said he could have understood it if the annual festival, which moves around from place to place, had been in a part of Wales where the Welsh language was widely spoken.

"I've seen things where they have been trying to get non-Welsh speakers to come along to the eisteddfod this year because it is in Newport," said the clown, who had been working for SNAP, a charity which supports families of children with special educational needs.

"But this doesn't seem to be the way to do it," he added.

At the eisteddfod, all the performances should be through the medium of Welsh
Eisteddfod director Elfed Roberts

The clown said he was told to stop in mid-performance on Wednesday because it was being staged in English only.

During his second performance, a translator was brought in to make the show bilingual but the show was stopped again.

"We made the performance bilingual but it still wasn't good enough for the officials," he said.

"It is a real shame because we had a lot of children watching the shows and they were all enjoying it."

But eisteddfod Director Elfed Roberts defended the decision.

"At the eisteddfod, all the performances should be through the medium of Welsh," he said.

"It is in the rules and the stallholders should have realised this before they booked him.

"They signed up knowing that all activities should be through the Welsh language.

"It is a simple case of rule breaking."

Tecwyn Roberts, who works for the charity which hired the clown, said: "Its is awful that we have been restricted like this - especially for the children.

"We had about 50 children watching the show yesterday and we made it bilingual so I simply cannot understand why they wanted us to stop," he added.

Stallholders nearby said that they were dismayed that the performances were halted.

One said: "Everybody was enjoying the show. They were clapping and cheering and all of a sudden they had to stop."

Ceri Phillips, a regular eisteddfod goer, translated the Punch and Judy show into Welsh.

"I just don't understand it, we were offering both languages and everyone was having a good time," he said.

"I've never seen anything like this happen before."

School knocks out Punch for show
05 May 04  |  Shropshire

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