Category Archives: Plays and Poems

Shakespeare, King John and Magna Carta in 2015

Listening to Melvyn Bragg’s series on Radio 4 celebrating the history of Magna Carta, 800 this year, I realise how little I know about the document and the historical background to Shakespeare’s play King John. By the end of 2015 … Continue reading

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Remembering Richard Pasco, Shakespearian actor

  On Wednesday 12 November Richard Pasco became the third eminent Shakespeare actor with close associations to Stratford-upon-Avon to die in 2014. Sadly there has been little immediate media interest, unlike that which met the death of Donald Sinden, and, … Continue reading

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Marking the centenary of World War 1 with Shakespeare

This week the marking of the centenary of the outbreak of World War 1 has reached its climax with Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day. The installation of the sea of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London has shown how … Continue reading

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HyperHamlet

Hamlet has got to be the most frequently quoted or alluded to work of literature ever written. People may not even realise they are quoting from the play when they say “Neither a borrower or a lender be”, “more in … Continue reading

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Shakespeare’s vision of apocalypse: King Lear at the National Theatre

As I write this on the afternoon of 6 June the celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy are taking place. President Hollande, speaking into a microphone, has been talking about peace in Europe, in front … Continue reading

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King Lear and poverty

I’m finally getting to see Simon Russell Beale playing King Lear at the National Theatre this week. I’m not sure how much I’m going to agree with some of the interpretation, but with Beale you know, however difficult the play … Continue reading

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Celebrating Shakespeare and Purcell with the Orchestra of the Swan

Stratford-upon-Avon’s own chamber orchestra, the Orchestra of the Swan, is currently celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary by performing four concerts of music inspired by his work. The first concert, last Friday, included the lovely orchestral suite written by Henry Purcell for … Continue reading

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Henry IV Part 1: relaying the live event

Earlier this week I attended the performance of Henry IV Part 1 performed at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, that was being simultaneously broadcast to cinemas around the UK, and is to be shown in schools, around the world and eventually … Continue reading

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The Rape of Lucrece

Exactly 420 years ago, on 9 May 1594, Shakespeare’s long poem The Rape of Lucrece was registered before being published later that year. In the dedication to the poem he had written the year before, Venus and Adonis, Shakespeare sounds … Continue reading

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Staging the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet

In an earlier post on the subject of Juliet’s balcony, I talked about the original staging of this scene, and how the scene came to be known  as “the balcony scene” even though in Elizabethan England the word balcony was … Continue reading

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