On the 23rd of April, the first day of the Summer Term, a large proportion of the Henrietta Barnett School community attempted to pull off a World Record for the greatest number of people reciting Shakespeare simultaneously. Participants included around 350 students and teachers all lead by the Head of the English Department, Ms Samantha Kay!

The passages recited included Hamlet’s famous soliloquy ‘To be or not to be’, ‘All the world’s a stage’ from As You Like It, Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy from Macbeth and the well-known romantic sonnet from Romeo and Juliet when the lovers first meet. These four speeches had been learned by all those participating for months during the lead up to this unforgettable occasion. This memorable event came just three days before William Shakespeare’s supposed birthday on the 26thof April however it is usually celebrated on the 23rdso a perfect day for the record to be broken. Some pessimists believed it would never happen but they were happily disproved as hundreds of students enthusiastically recited Shakespeare with none disqualified as none were told to sit down by the judges. 

It all kicked off around 1:30pm at lunchtime where all participants began lining up in their year groups all colour coordinated with another wearing Elizabethan inspired paper ruffs, kindly made by our Art Department especially for this day. Those in files on the MUGA ranged from students from Year 7 to A-level students in Year 13. The whole thing lasted a grand total of five minutes and the number of participants were met with an even greater number of audience members supporting their fellow peers and teachers from all departments including even former teachers who visited the school for the sole purpose of watching us attempt to break a world record.

A huge thanks goes out to Ms Kay for organising and executing such an extraordinary event that brought the whole Henrietta Barnett School community together and celebrated William Shakespeare, one of the world’s most renowned writers of all time, on such a special day. Hopefully good news will be heard soon from the judges as to whether the record was broken or not and hopes remain high. Not only was this memorable for those taking part but also for the audience who were able to witness such a remarkable event that will be remembered for years to come!