Camille O’Sullivan sings Shakespeare’s Lucrece

Queen Elizabeth Hall at London’s Southbank Centre is the venue for a Royal Shakespeare Company production of The Rape of Lucrece performed and sung by Camille O’Sullivan. Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece is a politically charged, sexually provocative and violent thriller. In the hypnotic hands of internationally-acclaimed performer Camille O’Sullivan, this rarely performed epic poem is thrillingly brought to life through storytelling and song by the Royal Shakespeare Company. With original music played live by Feargal Murray on piano, O’Sullivan inhabits the souls of both Tarquin and Lucrece.

Camille O’Sullivan performs Shakespeare's Lucrece.

Camille O’Sullivan performs Shakespeare’s Lucrece.

The Rape of Lucrece runs from Wednesday 9 July to Saturday 12 July Tickets £20/£27.50

Get more info and book tickets here.

Shakespeare’s Complete Sonnets at London’s South Bank

Shakespeare sonnet star Simon Russell Beale.

Shakespeare sonnet star Simon Russell Beale.

On Sunday 1 June, London’s famous South Bank Centre will sees a complete reading of every one of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets. In the evening the sonnets will be read at the Royal Festival Hall by some of the world’s finest actors and poets, led by Simon Russell Beale and Harriet Walter. Part One of the event runs from 5pm-6.30pm with Part Two running from 7.15pm-9pm.

Plus, in preparation for the evening’s star-studded readings, The People’s Sonnets will see sonnets popping up around the South Bank Centre site for free throughout the day in various outdoor locations. They are read by children, mums, dads, grandmas and anyone else who loves Shakespeare and his sonnets.

Tickets for the event are on sale now priced £10-£25. Go here to book your tickets.

Win! Tickets for Richard III in Covent Garden!

Iris Theatre returns for a sixth year of its celebrated summer season in the gardens of St Paul’s Church in London’s historic Covent Garden. This year they’re presenting a new outdoor production of Shakespeare’s Richard III which runs from 25 June until 25 July.

And excitingly, Shakespeare Magazine has FIVE pairs of tickets to give away.

Richard III ad - comp

Four winners will each get pairs of tickets for performances between Wednesday 25 June and Saturday 28 June.

And one overall winning pair will get to join Iris Theatre for press night on Monday 30 June, including interval wine and nibbles with the Iris team, and a signed programme!

To be in with a chance of winning, simply send an email to with RICHARD in the subject line.

Very best of luck!

More on Iris Theatre and Richard III here.

Hipster Hamlet rocks the school!

It was a case of Prep-School-meets-Punk for the recent production of Hamlet at The Pennington School in New Jersey. Inspired by an exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, director Lisa Houston draped Shakespeare’s Danish tragedy in her own unique take on Punk Couture.

Taking their cue from punk musicians like Johnny Rotten, Patti Smith, the Ramones, and the Clash, not to mention designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Karl Lagerfeld, Lisa and her team created an edgy, yet ethereal, Elsinore held together with safety pins and raw youthful energy.

Clad in leather pants, skull T-shirts and distressed haute couture gowns, the student cast were living proof that Shakespeare rocks…

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Hamlet (centre), Horatio (right) and the Gravedigger.

Hamlet (centre), Horatio (right) and the Gravedigger.

School’s stylish Romeo & Juliet inspired by Madonna’s ‘Vogue’.

Last month, Bolton School staged a four-day run of Romeo and Juliet with Zack Howarth and Megan Smethurst playing the title roles. A musical version, it drew from the ’80s and ’90s New York ball scene to reinvent the concept of the battling houses of Montague and Capulet. The talented supporting cast included Sixth Former Billy Morrison as an imperious Lady Capulet.

The Vogue-inspired R&J production

The Vogue-inspired R&J production

Next up for the school’s Shakespeare 450 celebrations is a festival presenting 12 reduced plays in two nights. Watch out too for an unpcoming production of Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, acknowledging that 2014 is also Marlowe’s 450th anniversary.
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Shakespeare rules Verona!

verona_shakespeareThe Arena di Verona Opera Festival is the place to be for opera buffs with a taste for Shakespeare. Running from 20 June to 7 September, the Festival’s highlights include productions of Carmen, Turandot and Madama Butterfly from Franco Zeffirelli, director of the legendary 1968 film of Romeo and Juliet.

Speaking of which, on 23 and 28 August and 6 September Charles Gounod’s opera Roméo et Juliette (Romeo and Juliet) is staged, with the immortal Veronese lovers played by Lana Kos and Vittorio Grigolo.
Tickets from or email

Quotemonger on… Shakespeare’s Roses

Everyone knows “A rose by any other name…” from Romeo and Juliet.

But that was by no means all Shakespeare had to say about the world’s most romantic flower. Let’s have a look at five quotes on the subject of roses…

  • “From fairest creatures we desire increase
    That thereby beauty’s rose might never die.”
    (Sonnet 1)

    Thus begins Shakespeare’s first sonnet, and his first addressed to the 'young man' whose beauty is celebrated with this comparison to the rose.
  • “Earthlier happy is the rose distilled
    Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn,
    Grows, lives, and dies, in single blessedness.”
    (A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Act 1, Scene 1)

    Hermia is the “rose” in this line. Duke Theseus is advising her to marry rather than become a nun to avoid a union with Demetrius.
  • “I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in his grace.”
    (Much Ado About Nothing – Act 1, Scene 3)

    Don John aka “John the Bastard” is a “plain-dealing villain” all right. And in this scene the princely, pretty adornment of a rose is counterpointed with his own preference: plant rot.
  • “Tell him he wears the rose / Of youth upon him; from which the world should note / Something particular.
    (Antony and Cleopatra Act 3, Scene 13)
    “The rose of youth” means “the blush of youth” in this passage where Antony is talking about the young Octavius Caesar.
  • “The rose looks fair, but fairer it we deem / For that sweet odour which doth in it live.”
    (Sonnet 54)
    There's a lengthy comparison between “canker-blooms” and roses in Sonnet 54. Both may look pretty, but the sweet smell of the one shows its true colours. Thus is the character of the poet’s beloved revealed: when the bloom of youth fades, what “odours” of true character remain?