“Imagine yourself striding confidently on stage, all eyes on you as you adjust the mic and take a deep breath. It’s a spring day in Central Park, and for just one minute, the imposing bandshell stage belongs only to you, you and William Shakespeare.” – Huffington Post, April 2016, Claire Fallon

Melinda Hall, Artistic Director of Willful Pictures believe that anyone can perform Shakespeare in public, even if it’s only for a minute. In April 2011, she created the Annual Shakespeare’s Birthday Sonnet Slam and invited anyone who wishes to read a Sonnet aloud at the Naumburg Bandshell in NYC. Since 2011, the Slam has featured over 800 Sonneteers ages 8-92 from all walks of life and varying levels of abilities from amateurs to professional actors to speak the sonnets of William Shakespeare.

Ms. Hall has no restrictions on how the person performs their Sonnet and by establishing that, the Slam has had people sing their sonnet, perform it in American Sign Language and even translate their sonnet into another language. Hall wants to create a focused energy to support the Sonneteer and hear Shakespeare aloud.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Artist