‘A Very Fantastical Banquet’

I have had the pleasure and privilege of directing the actors Kenneth Brannagh and Lolita Chakrabarti in the audiobook ‘All the Sonnets of Shakespeare’, edited by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells for Cambridge University Press. This new edition includes sonnets found in Shakespeare’s plays, as well as the celebrated collection of 154 independent poems. The sonnets have also been arranged in (probable) order of composition, rather than order of publication, casting a fascinating new light on familiar material. It was indeed a 2-day ‘fantastical banquet of words’ in the best possible sense – a real mental workout unravelling and recording 182 sonnets, but incredibly rewarding. We even found one in praise of audiobooks – or so I like to think!

Sonnet 81:

‘Your monument shall be my gentle verse/Which eyes not yet created shall oe’r read/And tongues to be your being shall rehearse/When all the breathers of this worlds are dead.’

It was truly inspiring to work with Shakespearian experts, both before and behind the mic. I’m really proud of this recording, which will be commercially available to the public but will also serve as an online resource for scholars.