Sheldrake on Shakespeare: Live!

by James Sheldrake in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Sheldrake on Shakespeare: Live!
Not quite
Unfortunately this project was not successful.

More comedy gig than academic lecture, what Keith Floyd was to food this show will be to Shakespeare.

by James Sheldrake in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

After eight years teaching in secondary schools, I have had enough of the classroom and want to share my love of Shakespeare in a much more entertaining style. I am therefore bringing the spirit of my podcast ( to Edinburgh for an hour of anecdote, insight, performance, analysis and laughter - much more a comedy gig than a lecture. Prepare for a mind-broadening evening that won’t feel too much like a mind-broadening evening! Whether you know everything or nothing about Shakespeare, this show will entertain and enlighten. What Keith Floyd was to food, this show is to Shakespeare.

I am still putting the finishing touches to the show, but a shape is emerging. It seems to me that Shakespeare's legacy of the moment is playfulness. We live in an unplayful age in many ways and Shakespeare consistently reminds us of the extraordinary and positive power of play. And yet too often we meet his work in ways that are dead: in a book to be studied or a story that we think we already know too well or a production that treats moments of profound uncertainty as foregone conclusions. Nudging between some genuine academic criticism and flights of fancy, I want to explore how we might breathe a bit more life and playfulness back into Shakespeare. And yes, believe it or not, there will be jokes.

I have reckoned that the total outlay for making this project happen, including the previews, will be £3297. Some of that will be recovered through ticket sales, but on the basis of the average Edinburgh audience occupancy of 30%, I would far from break even. What I primarily want you to do of course is come and see the show and I am mindful that money is tight, but especially if you have enjoyed the podcast over the years and want to help me defray some costs, please consider making a contribution through this page.

[email protected]



London previews:

Etcetera Theatre 2nd June

Rosemary Branch Theatre 14th July

Barons Court Theatre 23rd July


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£100 or more

0 of 10 claimed

Upcoming podcast episode named in your honour

I will name ten of the remaining podcast episodes after individual donors to this venture. You will be clearly named in the title and please email me to let me know a bit about yourself, your experiences with/interest in Shakespeare etc. so I can include some detail about you if you would like that. Ignore the fulfilment date and I’m afraid I can’t promise you any say in which play your name is attached to.

£20 or more

Hand-written thank you letter

I will post you a handwritten thank you letter, reflecting on one of my favourite quotations or passages from Shakespeare. Ignore the fulfilment date - I will send this to you whenever you make your donation. If you live outside the UK, please email me first so we can check that postage costs will not be prohibitive!

£50 or more

Book recommended and posted to you

I will select one of my favourite books about Shakespeare and his works (or a very interesting edition of one of the plays) and send it to you with a hand-written letter explaining why I think it is well worth reading. Ignore the fulfilment date - I will send this to you whenever you make your donation. If you live outside the UK, please email me first so we can check that postage costs will not be prohibitive!

£500 or more

I’ll come and have a pint with you

This level of generosity is worth in-person thanks! Email me before donating so we can try to find a mutually convenient location, but if we can make it work I will come and spend an evening in the pub discussing Shakespeare, or indeed anything else you want to talk about. Ignore the fulfilment date.

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