Stanzas in Solidarity: A rare chance to hear the sensual supremacy of Shakespeare’s epic-length 1593 poem ‘Venus and Adonis’ performed by a massed ensemble of almost 200 British theatre artists.

Earlier this year, the Stanzas in Solidarity project was formed as an artistic response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Its initial offering was an online collaborative performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Venus and Adonis’. A collective endeavour by no less than 198 volunteers from the theatre world, the work is offered as a gesture of solidarity to their colleagues in the performing arts.

Originally published in 1593, ‘Venus and Adonis’ was perhaps the major source of Shakespeare’s fame in his lifetime. Today, it is less well-known than his classic plays and sonnets, so Stanzas in Solidarity provides an excellent opportunity to hear this sensual tour-de-force performed in full for over 80 scintillating minutes by a new generation of British voices.

Watch the full poem via YouTube:

After you’ve experienced the poem, check out Ben Deery’s short introduction video, which explains a little more about the project and why ‘Venus and Adonis’ seemed like such an appropriate choice.


  1. This is excellent, really excellent. Lovely words, gorgeous speech and beautiful people. Or beautiful speech and gorgeous people, a nice variety. I have yet to fully watch the Stanzas In Solidarity – Introduction video but think it would be great if the video description on YouTube also gave the names with the time on the running order. And some background for us not familiar with the poem. But I think this is excellent for lovers of English, traditional poetry, Shakespeare and for learners of English wanting to hear a lot of well spoken pronounced different examples of English speech, different accents, backgrounds etc. As Shakespeare Magazine says “an excellent opportunity to hear this sensual tour-de-force”. Bravo.

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