On 23rd April this year, the birthday of William Shakespeare, over three hundred students at The Henrietta Barnett School, led by the Head of English, Ms Samantha Kay, attempted to set a new record with the hope of becoming a part of the highly esteemed Guiness World Record Book. The challenge? To become 'The largest group of people simultaneously reciting Shakespeare,' quite a feat! And so at around 1 o'clock, the students participating, clad in ruffs and a fierce sense of determination, congregated on the highly appropriate setting of the MUGA (The Multi - Use Games Area) and attempted to try something never before seen by human beings, with a keen audience of perhaps the entire school's population of whining school-girls as well as teachers, and even a few former teachers - as well as this, of course, there were the assessors from the world record book company themselves.

The four speeches that were performed had been prepared over the course of many months, with all students taking part having worked extremely hard to learn the speeches, as well being given oodles of encouragement from the extraordinarily vibrant English department. The speeches recited were 'To Be or Not to Be,' Hamlet's extremely well - known soliloquy in which he assesses whether or not he has the will to live. In addition, Lady Macbeth's 'Come you spirits' soliloquy in which she ask a few ghouls to fill her breasts with poison (a personal favourite) was spoken with true conviction. Another was 'All the world's a stage' spoken by Jacques in 'As you Like It' in which he summarises life as seven acts in a play, one of these being a pantaloon (no, not the trousers.) Finally the world famous sonnet between Romeo and Juliet in which they go on an abridged, two - minute pilgrimage to Jerusalem together, before succumbing to Satanic temptations and kissing each other. The participants were arranged in rows by age group, each assigned different costumes, with Ms Kay standing in carrot - coloured shoes at the top of a ladder at the front, towering over the rows, and joining in with great fervour on her microphone, as well as some of the English teachers. The speeches were recited with highly admirable confidence and enthusiasm from all participants.

All in all it was a highly enjoyable event for all participants and audience members - it was a lovely reminder of the foresight that Shakespeare had into patterns of human behaviour, his superhuman command of the English language and the richness of his words, his overall versatility and the range of his characters - the only slight improvement that could have been made was if they had all been pursued by bears at the end.