On Tuesday 23rd April 2019, Shakespeare’s birthday, students and teachers from The Henrietta Barnett School united to set a Guinness World Record.

This original idea was proposed by Mrs Kay, the Head of English at the school in the Autumn Term. The objective of the World Record Attempt was to congregate the largest number of people simultaneously reciting Shakespeare off by heart. In total, 292 students and 4 teachers participated in the event, whilst the rest of the school made up the audience.

This might appear to be rather straightforward at first, however the strict guidelines the participants had to adhere to proved this to be an exciting challenge! The reciting of the Shakespeare had to have a duration of five minutes, and every line had to be learnt from memory, or else students could be at risk of failing.

Most notably, the dedication of the staff and the students is highly commendable, as they rose up to this task with great confidence and determination. An English A Level student in Year 12 said that, “Everybody was excited and willing to participate” which demonstrates the impressive joint-effort and community spirit of the school!

Following many months of committed practice by all of the students and the staff, the World Record Attempt proved to be a splendid success as everyone joined together to recite some of Shakespeare’s most renowned soliloquies in unison. These speeches included extracts from the plays of “As You Like It”, “Macbeth”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet”.

Many of the students found the World Record Attempt to be an intensely rewarding and enriching experience, as one Year 12 English A Level student, Jemima Bird, said that “It was a great experience and a wonderful way of being exposed to such fabulous pieces of verse which I hope to retain for the future.”

Moreover, another English A Level student in Year 12, Kynthia Ravikumar, said that “It gave me more of an appreciation for Shakespeare’s work.”

This highly anticipated day was very successful, and now all that remains is the anxious anticipation for the approval of a World Record from Guinness!

Therefore, “To be, or not to be; that is the question.”