Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gloucester Celebrates Rudyard Kipling’s Captains Courageous: A Story of the Grand Banks

By Muriel Hoffacker
Gordon College News Service
February 24, 2010
(This story appeared in The Gloucester Times and The Salem News, March 4, 2010.)

Not many adventure novels are the center of a town’s attention for a whole day. But on Saturday, March 6th, Gloucester will host its first annual Captains Courageous Festival, honoring both Rudyard Kipling’s 1897 novel, Captains Courageous: A Story of the Grand Banks and Gloucester’s cultural heritage.


Kipling’s novel features Harvey Cheyne Jr., the selfish wealthy boy who was swept overboard and spared by Gloucester fishermen. As a visitor of Gloucester, Kipling captured details of the area that brought his novel to life. Captains Courageous illustrates Kipling’s perception of Gloucester fishermen and of the Grand Banks as the backdrop of Harvey’s revival from a selfish boy to a mature young man.

Kipling’s time in Gloucester will also be celebrated in a number of activities, including a discussion hosted by local author David McAveeney, who will examine Kipling’s writings using his book as a reference: Kipling in Gloucester: The Writing of Captains Courageous.  His talk is scheduled for March 4, from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Bookstore of Gloucester on 61 Main Street. 

On the day of the festival, Captains Courageous will be divided into four sections and read aloud at four different places throughout Gloucester: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Cape Ann Historical Museum, 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the Sawyer Free Library, 1:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center, and 4:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Cape Ann Art Haven.

If being read to is not enough, “Three Sheets to the Wind,” a group of sea shanty singers and musicians, will serenade the crowd from 7 to 7:30 p.m., followed by a playing of the 1937 Captains Courageous film from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., starring Spencer Tracy, Freddie Bartholomew and Lionel Barrymore.

A scavenger hunt, rope making, paper-dory decorating, and other activities will also accompany the day’s events, along with the opportunity to discover the Gloucester community.

The Captains Courageous Festival will bring people to Gloucester's historic downtown,” said Anne Robinson, Coordinator for the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts in Cape Ann.  “This area is often missed by people who only visit the beaches. But there’s also the Cape Ann Museum, the Sawyer Free Library, the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center, Cape Ann Art Haven and other sites.”

Robinson said that people of all ages are expected to attend from Gloucester including Mayor Carolyn Kirk and from across the North Shore as well as the greater Boston area. Robinson says the Captains Courageous Festival highlights many of Gloucester’s treasures in a creative way.

“I hope people will discover, or rediscover, Captains Courageous, Gloucester and Cape Ann,” said Robinson.  “It's a stunningly beautiful area with so much to offer.”

Captains Courageous Festival is presented by the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (seARTS) in partnership with Cape Ann Art Haven, Cape Ann Community Cinema, Cape Ann Historical Museum, Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center, Sawyer Free Library and Schooner Adventure.

The Festival will take place on Saturday, March 6 from 9 am to 9:30 pm.  To get a copy of Kipling’s Captains Courageous before the Festival, visit the Sawyer Free Library, Gloucester Bookstore or the Dogtown Book Shop, or visit Rockport’s Library or Toad Hall Bookstore.  To buy the Captains Courageous movie tickets, visit their web site. 

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