Shakespeare Aloud

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My friend Bill Barclay has set himself an interesting challenge – that is to read all 118,406 lines of Shakespeare’s complete works ……in public ……. in different locations …… around the world.  He is also writing a blog diary in which he will reflect upon his engagement with Shakespeare’s works over the coming year – come rain or shine.

Bill first told me about his plan back in May, during a break from rehearsals of The Globe’s production of Much Ado About Nothing for which he was working as assistant composer.  He travelled down to Stratford armed only with a copy of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, a video camera, and his cranium companion, Yorick. Bill was keen to begin his Shakespeare speakathon in front of Shakespeare’s birthplace, and we were both interested to see what sort of reaction his performance would draw from passers by. It is not every day that you spot a lone figure, skull in hand, performing all the roles (and stage directions!) of one of Shakespeare’s works, and Bill is sure to turn a few heads on planes, trains and automobiles.

Having waved Bill off, I have been monitoring his travels, and have enjoyed watching Shakespeare being spoken aloud in some of the most unlikely of places.  Bill notes that:

 “Starting at Shakespeare’s actual birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, I read scenes from Two Gentlemen of Verona at Notre Dame Cathedral (Proteus’ soliloquy was read inside the church, walking among the prayerful), the Eiffel Tower, on a boat along the Seine, in London at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, deep in the English countryside, and locales in Geneva including the United Nations and a treehouse.

I’ve read for Oliver Cromwell (in bronze form), been interviewed by the BBC and stopped by Scotland Yard, have been interrupted by gunshot (not at me thankfully) and also by dozens of Shakespeare enthusiasts representing a panoply of mental states.  Something always happens.”  

You can follow Bill, and join in the fun by visiting http://www.shakespearealoud.com/

 

 

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Author:Nick Walton

Nick Walton is a Lecturer in Shakespeare Studies at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

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