A PUBLIC reading of Homer's Odyssey in Skipton's own amphitheatre was 'blessed by the full pantheon of Gods'.

The amphitheatre, off the High Street, was bathed in sunshine as a sporting crowd of volunteer readers and listeners were transported more than 2,000 years back to ancient Greece to hear the adventures of Odysseus as he travelled home from Troy to his faithful wife Penelope and son Telemachus on the island of Ithaca.

Councillor Simon Myers started proceedings with a reading of the song of Ulysses, after which readers got into the spirit, unleashing their inner thespians and moving fluidly between male and female roles.

Accompanied by the unorthodox verbal sound effects of lethal arrows or flopping of bodies, the amphitheatre transformed into the Mediterranean, still in flames from the great battle and presenting the heroic Odysseus with all manner of obstacles.

The finale was two consecutive duets: between Odysseus and Penelope, finally together in their bedroom, and Zeus and his daughter Athena on Olympus, satisfied with how their plans had worked out.

Anushua Biswas, of the Skipton Civic Society executive committee, said the intention had been to promote the amphitheatre as a public performance arena and was supporting Skipton Town Council in achieving this.

"Homer’s Odyssey, as re-told by Simon Armitage was the perfect vehicle; oral poetry reading of Greek mythology with a Yorkshire accent," she said.

Anyone interested in joining the civic society to help it promote planning, architecture and environmental standards in Skipton should email: contact@ civic societyskipton.org