Being an arts blogger (and a literature nerd) I feel like I should mark today, Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, with a few words on how one of the world’s greatest ever writers has affected my life.
My love of English Lit can probably be traced back to studying Macbeth in Year 9. I had a fantastic teacher who really brought the text to life – I loved the witches, the gore and Lady Macbeth, and it’s still my favourite Shakespeare play.
Aged 18, I had a huge amount of fun playing Quince in an off-the-wall school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Aged 21, I got cast as Beatrice in my university drama society’s Much Ado About Nothing – to date, playing that role is one of my proudest achievements and Beatrice will always be very close to my heart.
Since leaving uni and becoming more involved in the arts as a spectator and reviewer, I’ve been inspired by some truly incredible interpretations of Shakespeare’s works: Shakespeare for Breakfast at the Edinburgh Fringe, The Royal Ballet’s dramatic Winter’s Tale and sparkling Dream, Jethro Compton’s WW1-set Macbeth, Maxine Peake’s performance in Hamlet and particularly Kenneth MacMillan’s profoundly moving ballet of Romeo and Juliet.
I’ve visited the Globe, been moved to tears by the British Museum’s beautiful Shakespeare: Staging the World exhibition, spoofed his work in comedy sketches, covered my bedroom walls with quotes and read his sonnets over and over.
I know some people think Shakespeare is overrated, but there’s simply no other writer who has had such an impact on my life in so many ways.
(If you’ve got any Shakespeare stories or memories you’d like to share, please feel free to post them in a comment below!)