Sonnets among the sweet-peas.

Shakespeare’s Sonnets are among the greatest poems ever written. But what do they represent and how might we begin to approach them in relation to Shakespeare’s own life and artistic output? Join me for a walk through the sweet-peas at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. If you listen carefully you can hear the early morning birds sing and the traffic beginning to buzz.

Close Encounters with Sonnet 29.

It was a pleasure indeed to be able to sit with Anne Hathaway’s Cottage behind me and to talk about Sonnet 29. Again, there is no right or wrong way to read a Shakespeare sonnet, but you’ll begin to know when you’ve made a successful reading. For me this means finding a balance between, as it were, underlining the words as we speak them and allowing them to resonate as words in need of colouring in the hearer’s ears. Hopefully my approach to Sonnet 29 can be used for each and every one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and that you’re willing to dip into his collection of sonnets and try them out for yourself.

Readings of Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Christopher Harvey is a professional actor, who loves speaking Shakespeare’s words and is very proud of his connection with The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, where his work has included playing Malvolio and Hamlet. In 2003 he was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, appearing in productions of The Taming Of The Shrew and The Tamer Tamed, Richard III and Measure For Measure. In 2007, he played Richmond in Richard III – An Arab Tragedy, for the RSC Complete Works Festival.

Christopher Harvey – Sonnet 12 (mp3)

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Christopher Harvey – Sonnet 27 (mp3)

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Sarah Horner has worked as a professional actress for the past 13 years in the diverse spectrum of Theatre, TV, Film and Radio. Her favorite roles include Helena (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Donna Benigna in a play written for her as part of the 2011 Stratford-upon-Avon Fringe Festival. She is wholeheartedly absorbing herself in the world of Shakespeare as she performs the bards beautiful words with Shakespeare Aloud! at Shakespeare’s Birthplace. www.spotlight.com/8012-4532-3489

Sarah Horner – Sonnet 30 (mp3)

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GTKS – John Robert Partridge Sonnet 71 (mp3)

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John Robert Partridge is a professional actor who trained at the Birmingham School of Acting, where he won ‘The Brian Shelton Meritum’ for Shakespeare Performance and went on to perform at The Globe Theatre in London as The Clown from The Winter’s Tale. John runs his own theatre company Tread the Boards Theatre Company who perform at the Attic Theatre, Cox’s Yard in Stratford-upon-Avon. They are the Number 1 Fringe Theatre in Stratford and perform 10 shows a year. For more information on John please go to Tread the Boards.

John Robert Partridge Reads Sonnet 71 (mp3)

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GTKS – John Robert Partridge Sonnet 130 (mp3)

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GTKS – John Robert Partridge Sonnet 138 (mp3)

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Jennifer Rigby is a Midlands based actress and director. She has played such classic roles as Eliza Doolittle, Elizabeth Bennet and Maria (Twelfth Night) and directed diverse productions from A Servant of Two Masters to Blue Remembered Hills, with a little Shakespeare in between. Jennifer received her favorite review for her portrayal of The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland it said simply ‘Jennifer Rigby is dynamite!’ www.njrmanagement.com.

GTKS – Jen Rigby Sonnet 53 (mp3)

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GTKS – Jen Rigby Sonnet 116 (mp3)

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Harry Fox Davies is currently studying English and Drama at Goldsmiths College, University of London, after which he hopes to train as a theatre director. Having grown up in Stratford-upon-Avon, he attended Shakespeare’s school, King Edward VI School and worked with the RSC and Cheek by Jowl as an actor. As well as studying, he also works for The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Harry Fox Davies – Sonnet 20 (mp3)

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Sam Lesser has worked for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust since 2010 in varying roles. He is a professional actor, a published poet and a director. Roles include Freddie in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion and Algernon in a national tour of The Importance of Being Earnest in 2011.

Lesser – Sonnet 73 (mp3)

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Lesser – Sonnet 104 (mp3)

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Paul Edmondson is Head of Research and Knowledge and Director of the Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival for The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. General Editor of Blogging Shakespeare. He is a trustee of The Rose Theatre Trust, co-series editor for Palgrave Macmillan’s Shakespeare Handbooks, and co-supervisory editor of the Penguin Shakespeare.

Paul – Sonnet 29 (mp3)

View the Arden Edition of this sonnet.