Pining for Shakespeare

In celebration of Shakespeare’s 400th death Anniversary, The Guardian has featured famous actors and actresses reading Shakespeare’s works.  Listen to English actor David Morissey read the opening lines of Richard III in the video below:

Ah Shakespeare.  I love reading his words, hearing his words, watching his work become alive before my very eyes.  Every now and then I must have a dose of Shakespeare.  Whether it is through re-reading of his works, watching a film or if I’m lucky, watching them on stage.  There’s something magical, no maybe, “magical” is the wrong word, more like “haunting” when watching his works, as if you’ve stepped into a different world and you’re witnessing a phenomenon happening right before your very eyes.

Admittedly, I prefer hearing his words than reading them, though I have read them.  I did a short-course with Future Learn called “Shakespeare and his World” and Professor Jonathan Bates who ran the course said that it helps to read him out loud and not to worry if you don’t   understand every nuance or phrase, unless of course, you’re a Shakespeare scholar.  The point he makes I think is just to enjoy him, without worrying too much that you absolutely have no clue what you’re reading about, chances are, you’ll get the gist of it. For me, Shakespeare is an experience to enjoy like eating, not necessarily a Michelin starred meal, but more like a favourite dish you enjoy.

The Tempest at the Minack

A couple of summers ago, when family from home were visiting, we had the chance to watch “The Tempest” at Minack, an open-theatre set against the Cornish coast. It was the perfect venue to watch the play which is set on a deserted island somewhere in the Caribbean.  We were daring enough to watch it with little T who was then barely four-years-old.

But I’m proud to say, she was an angel who sat quietly without whinging and complaining about how long the play was, or that it was “boring”.  I think she too was enthralled by the whole experience.  It’s best to start to start them early on Shakespeare 😉

Hearing those videos on The Guardian website has made me pine for his works again.  One for the bucket list this summer is to watch a play of his in no other than The Globe Theatre in London.  Closer to home, there’s also the Minack which has scheduled Shakespeare plays too over the summer, so if you’re planning a visit, check out their website and if you’re lucky, there might just be something on for you.

Incidentally, the Shakespeare course I mentioned on this post will be running again on the 18th of April.  If you enjoy him, you will definitely enjoy this course,  I did.  Do sign up, and did I mention that it’s free? 😉

I’m leaving you with another Shakespeare performance, this time by Ayesha Dharker as Titania in “A Mid Summer Night’s Dream” and if you go to The Guardian’s Website, you’ll be able to hear more readings from great actors.  Now excuse me while I bury my nose in his book.  Perfect reading in this stormy day, while the wind is howling outside …

“Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched our teeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulphurour and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o’ the world!
Crack nature’s molds, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man!”

  • William Shakespeare, King Lear

Have you seen any Shakespeare play?

Did you enjoy it?


  1. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read any Shakespeare. I once went to see a play on a first, and unsuprisingly last date given I fell asleep, albeit I had just finished an 18 hour shift and the seats were way too comfy.

    It’s on my list of things to do though, and I’ve used Future Learn before so I may just pencil that one in. If nothing else it would be nice to shout “Shakespeare!” at the TV when watching University Challenge with some confidence I might actually be right.

    • Oh I love the courses at Future Learn. Did the one in Creative Writing? If you haven’t enrolled in that one yet – oh you must! I guarantee you’ll love it too… As for Shakespeare, I didn’t enjoy him much as a student. But as an adult, I can’t seem to get enough of him 🙂

  2. Zoe Alicia

    I actually totally agree with hearing Shakespeare rather than reading it. It’s tough to read, but it’s so much more fun and engaging watching and listening to it being performed. That’s the key. I must check out the Future Learns course, I only found out about the website last week! #abitofeverything

    • I’m sure you’ll enjoy Future Learn too. I’ve done the Creative Writing course and it was fun 🙂

  3. Bear and Cardigan

    I love Shakespeare and also did that course with Future Learn. It was so interesting. I have seen a couple of plays, mostly when I was still at school, the best was Regents Park open air theatre. Fantastic! #abitofeverything

    • Oh watching a Shakespeare play at Regents Park sounds like heaven! Must put that on my summer-bucket list 🙂

  4. Kyles @ Pickles and Pords

    That’s great that you took Little T so young and she sat through it! That language washing over her would have been a wonderful learning experience. I love Shakespeare too – reading and watching. You’ve made me want to go back to it again! #abitofeverything

    • I think Shakespeare is better read as an adult. Didn’t like it much as a student, but now, I’m loving it more 🙂

  5. This Mum's Life

    Oh wow, watching The Tempest at an open air theatre must’ve been amazing!! I did GCSE and A Level English Literature, and absolutely loved Shakespeare then!! I have seen A Midsummer Nights Dream at the theatre, and when I was at dance school, I played Titania in one of our shows!! But since I got my A Level, I haven’t dipped much into Shakespeare at all, something I must rectify, as I’d like my children to enjoy it too!

    • It certainly was an experience, watching “The Tempest” in an open-air theatre by the sea! 🙂 Oh you must get yourself reacquainted with Shakespeare, especially if you enjoyed him as a student 🙂 That way, your kids will know all about him too. x

  6. Kate @ Did That Just Happen Blog

    I love to read it out loud, you almost have to perform it yourself in order for it to make sense! LOL – if I stop or go too slowly I focus on the little tree and miss the forest entirely! 🙂

    • Oh I so agree with you Kate! There were times when I even convinced my husband to read with me!

  7. This is a FABULOUS write-up!!!! It is fascinating, and if you look at how many of our modern day love stories are derived in some way from Shakespeare, it is easy to see the importance of his work. It is very easy to get caught up in! Thanks for the post!

    • Oh yes, definitely. I’m not surprised that many modern authors were influenced by Shakespeare 🙂

  8. Agent Spitback

    I adore Shakespeare though I must say I detested it when I had to study his works! You’re right, when you worry about understanding his words, rather than just listening and watching the play makes a big difference! After all, it his words are meant to be performed first and foremost! This is a lovely post – I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing with #abitofeverything

    • Thanks! I didn’t appreciate him much either, when I was student! To think I studied English Lit at Uni 😉 I only really love and appreciate his works now as an adult 🙂 x

  9. Lovely post and how amazing that you were able to watch The Tempest in the open air. Looks like an amazing experience. I studied Shakespeare at Uni but at the time we had to read and study one of his plays per week so it didn’t really leave any time to appreciate or enjoy them #bloggesclubuk

    • I know what you mean, same here. Didn’t enjoy and appreciate Shakespeare as a student. As an adult, I love rediscovering his works.

  10. New Mummy Blog

    The Minack looks amazing, I’d love to go one day. We read lots of Shakespeare at school and I must say I did enjoy it, and we always watched the film if we could as well.

    • It is amazing! Do visit when you can. Even if there isn’t. Play scheduled. The views are fantastic! And they also have a shop and mini museum there.

  11. Sad to say I have only read bits of shakespeare, and not very much at that. I much prefer hearing it than reading it.

  12. Mudpie Fridays

    I remember at school we went to Stratford and saw Midsummers Night Dream and I was mesmerised! We are planning a trip down to Cornwall so may have to check it out although it will be in March so maybe a little early. Thank you for joining us at #BloggerClubUK hope to see you again next week xx

    • We’ve been to Straford too and really enjoyed it there. I did notice a theatre and would love to be able to watch Shakespeare there too 🙂 You must check the plays scheduled in March, I think they already have some interesting plays worth watching 🙂

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