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A Dramatic Non-Reading of William McGonagall’s Bad Poetry

A special dramatic non-reading of the poetry of William McGonagall was a last-minute addition to the Ig Nobel Show at Imperial College on Friday night, March 9, 2018.

McGonagall is famed as the worst poet ever to write in the English language. Ig Nobel shows have, time and again, included dramatic readings of his work. (The literal high point was the group reading, on a train crossing the Tay Bridge, of McGonagall’s “Tay Bridge Disaster“—a poem lamenting the tragic collapse of that bridge.

Many of the Ig Nobel shows we have done at Imperial College have included a dramatic reading of McGonagall poems, performed by Andrew J.T. George, whose persistence on many occasions induced the successful booing and halting of the reading. Professor George was unable to attend this year’s show at Imperial College. Therefore, we sought and found an able substitute performer—a performer capable of delivering a specially restrained performance: noted author and raconteur Stevyn Colgan.

Colgan performed a dramatic non-reading of several poems by William McGonagall, in the midsts of spending the entire evening on stage at Imperial College, gagged, and bound to a chair.

The entire Ig Nobel show began, proceeded, and finished during Colgan’s evening-long on-stage tenure. Here are photos of that performance by Stevyn Colgan. Many audience members clambered onto the stage to have their photographs taken with Colgan.

The Ig Nobel Show at Imperial College was the first event in the Ig Nobel EuroTour. The tour will also include shows in the UK, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and other countries.

UPDATE: Here is the photo taken by Tom Williamson, whom you can see (in photo number 2, above) taking this photograph:

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