Our Shakespeare reading group started this week. The invite went out to anyone and everyone wanting to read or listen to Shakespeare's plays. I thought we should start at the beginning with what is thought to be his earliest play,
Two Gentlemen of Verona. It is not a play I knew very well, in fact the only time I have seen it is when my dear friend Dominic Arnold played one of the Gents in a West End Production in the 80s.
I was spurred on by some research that recently came out from scientists at Liverpool University.
They have discovered that 'Reading Shakespeare has a beneficial effect on the mind, providing a rocket-boost to morale by catching the reader's attention and triggering moments of self-reflection' They went on to say 'The research shows the power of literature to shift mental pathways, to create new thoughts, shapes and connections in the young and the staid alike.'
So attending my Reading Group were people aged from 18 - 75+. I was stunned at how well people read, and how supportive we were when readers lost their way or stumbled over words. It is amazing how enjoyable and stimulating reading aloud can be.
We are going to organise a theatre trip, and next month we will have wine to help us along with the The Taming of the Shrew which some say is his second play although every place I look offers a different suggestion!