The Dean Close Drama Department have undertaken an enormous lockdown project, with members of the Dean Close community recording all 154 sonnets of William Shakespeare. We are thrilled to announce that this Friday 5th June, will mark the release of the first episode, Shakespeare in Lockdown, Sonnets 1 -30.

It is easy to forget that, apart from being the greatest dramatist who ever lived, that Shakespeare was a master sonneteer, and his 154 sonnets make up the great sonnet sequence in our language.

The sonnets are almost solely on the subject of love – unrequited love, rejected love, forbidden love – in fact the first section (sonnets 1-126 – the largest sequence) are written to a “fair youth” – a boy. Most of the remainder are written to the much-debated “dark lady”. We don’t know the identity of either of these enigmatic characters, and are not even certain if they are all the same person.

Director of Drama, Lloyd Allington, said “We thought it would be fun to get lots of people involved from our community. And so, you will find readers from Fifth and Sixth Form drama sets; current actors and drama scholars from School; drama department members; members of Common Room and Senior Leadership staff; and, of course, Old Decanian actors from as far afield as the USA and Australia.

What was especially wonderful were the immediate and enthusiastic replies I got from pupils and ODs and staff alike – and many texted and emailed and called afterwards to say how much they had enjoyed the challenge and process. Especially during this awful period of Lockdown.”

This was an incredibly fun project to collate and create and gave the community a sense of togetherness, even when far apart.

The first Episode will go live on Friday via the website and Social Media.

We do hope you enjoy them.