Anacortes Chat

S1 E01 The Town Crier of Anacortes, Richard Riddell

September 27, 2019

The Town Crier of Anacortes, Richard Riddell 

Episode 01: Show Notes  iTunes_Podcast_xtra_SMALL.jpg  Newsletter_Sign_Up.jpg

Originating from the medieval period, town crying is a profession with a great deal of history and culture in its wake. On today’s episode, we have a conversation with a former world champion, the town crier of Anacortes, Richard Riddell. Unaware of it at the time, Richard’s years of acting and musical education and his time as an opera singer in Zurich turned out to be the ideal training ground for this position. He shares about becoming the local town crier, being surprised at enjoying it as much as he does and then he discusses what competitions involve and the different types of cries that can be heard at these events. While there are only a small number of town criers in the world, they are a group of people with thorough respect for what they do, holding fast to their traditions and the nostalgic role they play in their communities. Richard talks about the uniforms they wear, being mistaken for a pirate and the story behind his bell. Be sure to join us for this historical adventure!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Richard’s move to Anacortes in his childhood and his training in acting and music.
  • Working as an opera singer in Zurich, meeting his wife, and returning to town.
  • More about Richard’s opera career and when he discovered that he could sing.
  • How Richard became the town crier, what it involves, and getting into competitions.
  • The nature of competitions, different types of cries, and the guidelines.
  • An actual presentation of a humorous and advertising cry!
  • The town crier championships hosted in Anacortes and the only downside for Richard.
  • Open versus invitational competitions and the special event planned for 2021.
  • The number of town criers in the world and where most reside.
  • The traditional attire of a town crier and the events they typically open.
  • Being mistaken for a pirate and the rich history of his bell.
  • And much more!


“What was found in the past is that Anacortes just opens their homes and all the town criers away from home stay here and the restaurants will give away meals and the brewery will give away beer. It’s a good time to be had by all, I can tell you!” — Richard Riddell [0:24:49]

“But really, it’s all about performance, it’s all about standing and delivering and bellowing. A good amount of noise.” — Richard Riddell [0:12:08]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Anacortes Chat —

Eddie Bauer —

National Shakespeare Company —

The Hartt School —

Zurich Opera House —

Anacortes Sister Cities Association —

Kenny Podmore, Sidney Town Crier

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