Pontefract to audition new town criers

It is a tradition that dates back to medieval England.

And now Pontefract is calling for loud-voiced people to come forward and audition for the role of town crier.

A community group wants to revive the custom in the town, and will ask the successful candidate to ring a bell and make public announcements in the street while wearing traditional costume.

Pontefract Heritage Group will hold trials during Civic Day at Pontefract Castle on Saturday, and potential criers will be assessed for their vocal projection.

The group's co-chairman Byron White said:

“The whole idea is to have a town crier that will be present at all the big events in Pontefract, at the liquorice festival, at heritage days and other community celebrations to announce the events that are going on throughout the day.

“We thought it would be a nice addition to the town which is going through a regeneration and revival period at the moment.

“We are hoping that introducing this will bring more people into the town centre and let people know what is going on.”

Saturday’s trials will take place from 11.30am, while the town crier competition finals will be held on July 8 during the Picnic at Pontefract Castle event.

Those auditioning will be provided with traditional outfits and will be asked to read a speech. They will be judged on how far their voice travels, how they deliver the speech, how loud it is and how they deal with the crowd. The town crier’s first outing will be Yorkshire Day on August 1.