On the first day of summer term, students, teachers and parents of HBS gathered together at lunchtime, with the bright sun shining down, and witnessed an event never seen before. Over 300 students and three teachers participated in the first ever world record attempt for the most people reciting Shakespeare simultaneously.

Tuesday April 23rd, just three days before Shakespeare’s 455th birthday, the Henrietta Barnett School community performed a recital of decidedly four of his best and most famous speeches - To be, or not to be (Hamlet), All the world’s a stage (As you like it), Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy (Macbeth) and Romeo and Juliet’s first meeting sonnet (R&J). The recital lasted for 5 minutes, and out of the 350 participants, none were disqualified. They had an audience of similar size, sitting on the grass or watching from balconies, cheering them on.

To be honest, hopes were not high. One student (Amelie Poon) was recorded saying “this is going to fail,” whilst another was heard exclaiming “yeah as if our school can coordinate something like this.” However, the 300 students from KS3, 10 from KS4 and 30 from KS5 pulled through, delivering a stunning and surprisingly organised and uniform recital. To say the least, the audience was wowed.

Many thanks to Ms Kay, Head of English for organising such a wonderful activity to celebrate Shakespeare and the astounding legacy he has left behind. We hope to hear back from the Invigilators with good news, and to receive our certificate in due time. The event was significant in both showing the amazing skill and talent of Henrietta Barnett girls, but also in bringing the school together as one, with everyone from year 13 to year 7 cheering each other on!