Prologue

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This is the ongoing account of my ten-year Shakespeare New Year Resolution. At the start of 2014, when my beloved (and very well educated) grandmother passed away, I decided to do something in her honour. Since one of her many talents was in English – and one of the stories she would re-tell was her going out to see a Shakespeare play the night before her final school exams, blithely telling her mother (incorrectly) that it was revision – it seemed appropriate to make a plan to see all of Shakespeare, staged. The timescale seemed a reasonable compromise between something ambitious (a Shakespeare play every quarter) and yet achievable. It’s only when you look at the list that you realise how rarely some Shakespeare is performed – Cymbeline anyone? Pericles, Prince of Tyre?? King John??? Of course, I needed a few more rules to follow, just to make it interesting.

  • The show has to be performed live. No film or TV versions (sorry, Hollow Crown, you don’t count!). The jury is out on NT live or similar showings – it may depend on how desperate I get to finish the list…
  • The show has to be Shakespeare. West Side Story will not count as a Romeo and Juliet substitute, alas. Should I be offered Shakespeare in another language (if the Globe ever does another international season!) it likely will not count.
  • Shows I have seen before do not count – not just to allow me a clean slate, but because the ones I have already seen include some of my favourites and I’m happy to have an excuse to see them again.
  • I will seek out an interesting and varied programme of Shakespeare to go to. Just going to every RSC show for the next ten years will not do.
  • This will be the bare minimum of my Shakespeare viewings – and indeed my theatre-going. More will be aspired to – and may also make it into the blog.

A friend of mine suggested the blog, and I have taken it up – more as a way of keeping track, than as something I expect anyone to be passionately interested in. Nonetheless, here it is, and I very much welcome comments and suggestions for future shows!

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