Sonnet Book

We have a run of 750 sonnetbooks. Each book signed by William S



Shakespeare 400- So far

Shakespeare 400 -So far the fear in this Shakespeare Year has abated, to be replaced with baited breath.

This year is Shakespeare 400 and my contributions so far are small and insignificant to the whole. Yet giant and most most fulfilling to those i shared them with. My thanks to Ben Crystal are legion for the opportunities to explore with the Passion in Practice ensemble.

LIST of W.S.’ W.Sh. relished events this year so far


felt the fear, and did it anyway

* Leadership Workshop for the Algemene Bestuurs Dienst, Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken, Den Haag. Put together by Henriette Koomans. My Richard and Buckingham ‘you were never wont to be so dull’ scene went down well with the Cream of the Crop bureaucrats.

* Lunchpause Shakespeare Karaoke Lunchpause Website. Hosted at Effectory, showed that even a 30 minute session revives workers and increases their afternoon potential.

* Savannah Music Festival: Pericles Recomposed. April 5th, Savannah, Georgia, USA.
Words cannot do this justice. The Festival arranged our P1 visas (skill set = speaking OP) excellent care and a theatre that Kevin Spacey helped to rebuild. Plus meeting a Professor who is sonnet crazy like moi. Plus half the cast American, other half Brits or Euros, including my fave actor and Leicester supporter Colin Hurley. Did a half marathon of sonnets the day we left watched by roomie and No Holds Bard podcast podcaster Dan.


* Shakespeare Karaoke show April 23rd: British Library, London.
OK The British Library is centred around the book collection of King George the 3rd. Our Sha-oke show was in front of this monumental collection. The punters loved it. Couldn’t have made it so spectacular without my partner in crime Sassy, Mistress of the Props and snacks. London we will return for more with even more stroopwafels. The actual birthday night showcased some awesome alternative talent. The Late at the (British) Library 23rd April 2016 Livestream can be viewed still.


* Played Philip Henslowe in a devised piece May 26th, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the Globe, London. Henslowe400, Henslowe too died in 1616. Ben asked if i could be him and over a 8 day period; saw Grace Ioppolo’s Henslowe’s Will at the SWP. Then attended the Henslowe symposium that weekend. (Thanks Globe Ed)! Read the entire diary in OP in 2 days. Devised a script with Marie Fortune and improvised with David Crystal and PiP members Jenni, Matt, Marie, Ben, before improvising in OP as Henslowe. The Dulwich College folk were happy so that makes me happy.

In so profound abysm I throw all care of others voices,
My adder’s sense to critic and to flatterer stopped are,
Sonnet 112:

I wish that were true.

I’m at my best when i have a bunch of shows lined up and all i have to do is prepare for each of those in their own special place where they happen. The understanding that your crowd in Savannah will not be that of Amsterdam or London.

And big scale or small scale up to 300 seats is where you learn the most.
Though if I ever were to do Stadiums, the dressing room riders would contain impossible to do Early Modern stuff like 3 quill pens from the 3rd wing feather of a goose. Elderberries in season. And large scale maps of EM London Paris and Amsterdam.

Whether NOT busking the 14th Sonnet Marathon on the Bankside and
entertaining a group of schoolkids who couldn’t believe i memorised all the sonnets…

Or lounging in the lobby of the British Library
watching rehearsals for the birthday celebrations…

This year isn’t over yet. What’s gone…

*14 Sonnet Marathons SO FAR:
all 154 sonnets spoken in Original Pronunciation.

Started in Amsterdam in January. Deciding, hey 52 Sonnet Marathons would be cool.
Discovered my OP needed work and it’s lonely when no-one bothers to listen to you.

People do stand out of your sight-line,
listening intently for a sonnet, or five, or ten, or twenty.
Them giving you a wide smile, thumbs up, and sometimes a ‘dude you’re rocking it’ and

‘my adder’s sense…’

Stop the thoughts.

*Rollende Keukens in the Westerpark Flexitarian Vleesch noch Visch stand up sonnetry

Focus on the words again for heaven’s sake,
recite from 1-77-
maybe take a break, or NO, continue to 104, or 126,
then a break.
Or do stately blocks of 1-52, 53-104, 105-126, 127-154.

There’s an arc and the story’s meagre curve demands to be kept.
I’m not a machine though many take me for one
(Are you the sonnet machine a scholar asked me at the Globe.
YES! I replied ‘coz i crave validation).
A Dutch paper Vrij Nederland called me a Sonnet Jukebox.

Amongst these Shakespeare related events
including each actor and every volunteer who helped
I’ve had a great year SO FAR:

This sonnet was recorded on the fly. Shot by Maarten Toner.

Sonnet 104 from Maarten Toner on Vimeo.

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