Press Release: World Record marathon Shakespeare recital acknowledged at last!!

Adrian Hilton of Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire has finally been recognised for his marathon non-stop recital of the Complete Works of Shakespeare, and has been presented with an official Guinness World Record.

He performed the "Bardathon" on the site of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre at the International Shakespeare Festival in 1987. The festival was organised by Sam Wanamaker around the ground breaking ceremony to mark the rebuilding of the Globe, and was attended by the Duke of Edinburgh who formally launched the recital by presenting Hilton with a scroll of the first speech from Henry V.

The record had previously been established by a group of ten actors, each playing individual parts, but Hilton smashed this by performing every single role penned by the Bard, along with all the sonnets and poems. Ironically, the year the record was achieved, Guinness decided to cease recognition of all 'marathon' records. It has taken twelve years for them to reconsider this policy, and award Hilton his official World Record.

The seeds of the record attempt were sown while Hilton was having a sauna with Roy Castle during the summer of 1986. He spent many summers holidaying with the Castles at their home in Bournemouth, and one evening the conversation veered towards Castle's numerous records. It was pointed out that no-one had ever recited the Complete Works non-stop single-handedly, and the challenge was set. The Globe Theatre extended the invitation to make the world record attempt on the site of the famous playhouse, and Prince Philip agreed to inaugurate the recital.

Armed with a host of friends to keep him awake, with advice from NASA on nutrition and the effects of sleeplessness, Hilton took a mammoth 110 hours and 46 minutes - almost 5 days - to complete the recital.

He went on to join the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1989, and has since directed classics, musicals, variety and opera in the regions, London's West End and on the South Bank.

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