Hamlet in the Castle

Saturday evening I attended a charity event hosted by St. Johns House Trust and their newly formed St. Johns House Players. The event took place at Newcastle Castle, Bridgend! The Castle being of Norman construction really set the scene.  Their production of Hamlet, along with the setting was absolutely outstanding.


Hamlet: Lewis Coster
Claudius: James Gillard
Ghost: Jon Catton
Gertrude: Naomi Hyatt- Golding
Polonius: Joe W. Smith
Ophelia: Katie Iles
Laertes: Ben Daniels
Marcellus: Rhys Evans
Horatio: Morgan Neagle
Rosencrantz: Tomas Morgan
Guildenstern: Daniel Catton
Lucianus: Oat Jenner
Player King: Jon Cattion
Queen Player: Catrin Young
Grave Digger 1: Daniel Catton
Grave Digger 2: Joe W. Smith

1106 sees the earliest recorded reference to a castle at Newcastle It was built by the Lord of Glamorgan himself, Robert FitzHamon.  It was strategically built on a high bluff above the Ogmore Valley to guard the river below.  An earlier earth work castle of ring work type, is thought to have been situated where the present castle sits. The Castle was probably rebuilt in stone during 1180s, when the king himself, Henry II, held the castle. The Castle boast of a complete Norman doorway which greets the visitor on their approach.
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St Johns House or as its more commonly known “St Johns Hospice” is a mainly 15th century building situated on Newcastle Hill, Bridgend. St John’s is thought to be one of the oldest buildings in the area with its history spanning over 600 years. The earliest date known to be associated with the building is c.1425. 
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Who are St. Johns House Trust?

We are a small group of local people who have formed a charity to obtain the building for community use. Proposed uses: a cafe, evening classes in language and craft, work shops, art gallery, murder mystery weekends, medieval re-enactments, civil wedding ceremony's, paranormal evenings, local craft fairs, Museum, Christmas, Easter and Halloween festivals, Yoga, meditation, conference and meeting rooms, etc!

"Our target is £150,000 and we are already on our way thanks to visitors from across the Borough and the World. If you know of any person, company or organisation that might be interested in taking a more active role or donating please let us know." (source)

"The objects of the Charity are specifically restricted to the following:
to preserve for the benefit of the people of Bridgend County Borough and of the Nation, the historical, architectural and constructional heritage that may exist in and around St John’s House in buildings (including any structure or erection, and any part of a building as so defined) of particular beauty or historical, architectural or constructional interest.

and The provision of facilities for recreation and other leisure-time occupation in the interests of social welfare with the object of improving the conditions of life for the persons for whom they are intended." - Ken Hinton, St. Johns House Trust

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