NSC SOAPBOX CHALLENGE

WHAT IS A SOAPBOX?

A soapbox is a raised platform on which one stands to make an impromptu speech, often about a political subject. The term originates from the days when speakers would elevate themselves by standing on a wooden crate originally used for shipment of soap or other dry goods from a manufacturer to a retail store. The term is also used metaphorically to describe a person engaging in often flamboyant impromptu or unofficial public speaking, as in the phrases "He's on his soapbox", or "Get off your soapbox." Hyde Park, London is known for its Sunday soapbox orators, who have assembled at Speakers' Corner since 1872 to discuss religion, politics, and other topics. Blogs can be used as soapboxes within the context of the World Wide Web.

HISTORY

Throughout the 19th Century and into the 20th, prior to the invention of corrugated fiberboard, manufacturers used wooden crates for the shipment of wholesale merchandise to retail establishments. Discarded containers of every size, well-constructed and sturdy, were readily available in most towns. These "soapboxes" made free and easily portable temporary platforms for street corner speakers attempting to be seen and heard at improvised "outdoor meetings," to which passersby would gather to hear often provocative speeches on religious or political themes. 

Street-corner oratory could also present its share of problems. Chief among these was the policy of local law enforcement authorities, who sometimes saw in radical political discourse a form of incitement to crime and violence and a threat to public order. Additionally, large street corner crowds listening to "soapboxers" would often obstruct public walkways or spill into public streets, creating inconveniences to pedestrians or vehicular traffic alike. Consequently, local authorities would often attempt to restrict public oratory through licensing or prescriptive banning. The decades immediately preceding World War I have been called the "Golden Age of Soapbox Oratory." Working people had little money to spend and tub-thumping public speakers pushing their social or political agendas provided a form of mass entertainment. Additional problems could be presented to street corner orators from rival political groups or hecklers. A skilled and effective "soapboxer" had to be quick on his feet, figuratively and sometimes literally, having the ability to express political opinions with clarity, to have ready answers for common objections, to be able to deflect hostility with humor or satire, and to be able to face difficulty or danger with fortitude.

THE MAKING OF NSC'S SOAPBOX

Newry Speakers Club created their own Soap Box. A large box with no lid was ordered online. Upon testing the base of the box it was decided that it would have been too flimsy to actually use. My nephew Peirce Laverty kindly agreed to reinforce the base of the box with some MDF board. The board was cut to fit, and drill holes were made and counter-synced for screws. The boards were then screwed to the base and the box's durability was tested. The box was then stained with a dark gloss paint, stencils were drawn up of an old soap brand ICEBERG SOAP and THE SOAPBOX with a bar of soap. The SOAPBOX stencil was used on the front and red acrylic paint was used. On the side the ICEBERG SOAP stencil was used and white acrylic paint was added. Finally the Newsry Speakers Club logo was printed off, cut out and glued to the back of the club's first ever SOAPBOX. 

WHAT'S THE CHALLENGE?

Getting up and speaking in public can be quite frightening, but it is something that most of our members can become quite accustomed to if they attend to our meetings regularly. The challenge then is to try and speak publicly in an environment which most of our members are not accustomed to.   -- - - - - -- - - - - -- - - - -    -- - - - -  -- - - - -  -- - - - -  -- - - - -  -- - - - - -- - - - --- - - - -   -- - - - -  -- - - - -  -- - - - --- - - - - -- - - - -  -- - - - -  -- - - - -  -- - - - -  -- - - - --- - - - - -- - - - -  -- - - - -  -- - - - -  -- - - - -  -- - - - -  -- - - - --- - - - --- - - - --- - - - -  -- - - - --- - - - - -- - - - - -- - - - --- - - - - -- - - - - -- - - - -.

NEWRY TOASTMASTERS SPEAKERS CLUB

Proud Members of