Romeo and Juliet DVD and Blu-Ray Giveaway!

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

We were lucky enough to snag two copies of the recently released Romeo and Juliet film, just in time for Valentine’s Day!
Thanks to our friends at DFilms, we have one DVD and one Blu-Ray to give away, and you could be a winner!

Since we are getting close to the most romantic day of the year, all you have to do is submit an original love poem (max. 6 lines) along with the following:

  • Your Name
  • Your Age (If you are under 18, make sure to get parental permission first!)
  • Your Mailing Address
  • Your Phone Number
  • Whether you want a DVD or Blu Ray

Submissions should be sent to

We will post the winning poems on our blog and social media pages!

*This contest is open to all residents of Canada. Entries can be submitted until 11:59PM EST on Friday, February 14, 2014. Winners will be contacted via e-mail or phone to confirm mailing information.

Shakespeare Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day- Behind the Scenes!

Here’s a behind the scenes look at how our Shakespeare Sonnets by Kids fundraiser works!

For more information, or to purchase a sonnet for your loved one, click here!

Sonnets by Kids- A Unique Gift for Valentine’s Day!

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” What better cure for the “winter of our discontent”?

This Valentine’s Day, why not give the gift of poetry and let the Bard do the talking!

    • Visit
    • Select and purchase your favourite Shakespeare Sonnet – 18, 24, 29, or 116. (Only $25 CDN)
    • On Valentine’s Day, between 4:30pm and 6:30pm EST, a talented and charming Shakespeare Kid will call your lucky Valentine and recite the sonnet with a heart full of love!
    • A Shakespeare Kid will also sign and mail a personalized copy of the sonnet for your Valentine!

SONNETS BY KIDS are available in Canada, the US, and the UK until Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5pm EST, while quantities last.
Shakespeare in Action is a charitable not-for-profit organization, dedicated to introducing young people to the magic of Shakespeare, language and live theatre.  All proceeds support our educational programs throughout the GTA!

– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2011 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action

– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2011 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action

– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2012 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action

– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2012 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action

– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2013 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action

– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2013 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action

For more information, or to purchase a sonnet for your loved one, click here!

Photo Friday- Remembering Nelson Mandela


Caes.           Cowards die many times before their deaths:
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I have yet heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear,
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.

Today we mark the passing of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918 – 2013), the champion of human rights in South Africa. Mandela served 27 years in Robben Island prison for his revolutionary efforts to end apartheid in South Africa. While he was in prison, Mandela and his fellow inmates distracted themselves by reading from a tattered copy of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. The book passed from hand to hand and each inmate annotated a favourite passage. The copy came to be known as the Robben Island bible, and has been displayed in exhibits at the British Museum, The Folger Shakespeare Library, and its home in South Africa.

Mandela’s chosen passage, taken from Julius Caesar, speaks to his bravery and his tenacious spirit. These words also bring comfort as we remember him today. They remind us not to mourn for someone who feared death, but to celebrate the life of someone who was willing to die for his beliefs.

Sonnet 73 – Listen to our take!

Photo: Vineeta Moraes

Photo: Vineeta Moraes

We had a tonne of fun participating in 1623 theatre company‘s Sonnet 73 project!   It’s all in the spirit of autumn and winter (of our discontent):


That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

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Want to participate?  Make a recording with your smartphone and send it to 1623 theatre company by February 8, 2013.  Click here for all the guidelines.  And click here to listen to more recordings!

By Vineeta Moraes, Linda Nicoll, and Laboni Islam

Monday Mystery: Match Maker

Shakespeare deals a lot with love. Love, marriage and in the comedies, often misguided love. Can you identify the speaker and then pair up the lines of text with their corresponding lover?

For example, who says…

A: “Mine ear, I think it, brought me to thy sound.”
B: “O, Speak again, bright angel!”
C: “Say that you love me not, but say not so In bitterness.”
D: “What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?”
E: “My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words Of that tongue’s utterance, yet I know the sound:”

F: “Come not near me. And when that time comes, Afflict me with thy mocks, pity me not, As till that time I shall not pity thee.”
G:  “Hang off, thou cat, thou burr! Vile thing, let loose;”

H: “Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason for that.”

Once you’ve identified the speaker, find the text of their corresponding “lover” and identify them! Note: the “response” to each quote does not necessarily come directly after that line, it may appear further down in the scene, but is a response or line directed at their “lover”. Can you play match maker with these 8 lovers from 3 of Shakespeare’s plays?


Wordy Wednesday – “O gracious lady”

Hello all!

I couldn’t sleep last night, and found myself thinking about the phrase “have not slept a wink.” Have you heard that phrase before? Did you know that one of its first uses was in Shakespeare? In Cymbeline, Act 3 Scene 4, Pisano says:

O gracious lady,
Since I received command to do this business
I have not slept one wink.

So, next time you tell someone that you didn’t get any sleep, you can quote Shakespeare and say “I did not sleep a wink.”

Perhaps tonight I will count Silvius’s sheep until I fall asleep. Bonus points to whoever can tell me what play Silvius appears in!

Wordy Wednesday – “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” (Valentine’s Edition!)

To all on this post-Valentine’s Day day.

Were you not able to find those perfect words? It’s not too late. Maybe the Bard can help you out.

Let’s take an oft-quoted line.

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:”

Whisper that in his/her or quote in on bent knee and you are set! Who does not love being told they are lovelier than a summer’s day?

This quote, from the famous Sonnet 18, has often been held as a great celebration of love. And while it may seem like that, if we take a closer look at this sonnet, we see it is not as sincere as it may seem.

Tune in tomorrow and we will shatter this illusion.

Wordy Wednesday – “Parting is such sweet sorrow”

Okay, so we’re a bit belated, but let’s pretend it’s still Wednesday… and get wordy! In honour of our mainstage production of Romeo and Juliet, which is rolling along pretty smoothly so far (knock on wood), we present this week’s phrase:

Good night, good night! parting is such
sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

Have you ever had to leave behind someone you love?

Yes, this is still a popular phrase today. In fact, we’ve already used it twice on this blog! And though we are Shakespeare fans, I’m sure if you pay attention you will hear people all over using this phrase.

The phrase seems straightforward at first: it’s hard to part with someone you love. In the play, Juliet says this to Romeo after the infamous balcony scene where they first confess their love. But how can something that is a “sorrow” still be “sweet,” you ask?

There are a couple of things that make this phrase memorable. For one, the contrast between “sweet” and “sorrow” is arresting – it makes us sit up and take notice. It’s similar to a word like “bittersweet,” or a phrase like “jumbo shrimp.” These are known as oxymorons, which are words or phrases that contain two contradictory meanings.

When Juliet says, “parting is such sweet sorrow,” she reminds Romeo and herself all over again of her love for him. Parting from him wouldn’t be so sorrowful unless she truly loved him, so even in feeling the pain of separation, she remembers the “sweet” love that they share.

What do you think? Can you feel two such contradictory emotions at once?

Their parting is also more sweet than sorrowful because now they can look forward to seeing each other again. This phrase foreshadows important events in the rest of the play. Before long Romeo and Juliet will have to face a lot of real sorrow – Tybalt and Mercutio’s deaths, and Romeo’s banishment. And in the end they will refuse to be parted even in death.

Another way to think about this is from your own experience. Have you ever had to leave someone behind – friends, family – while jetting off to a new adventure? Here in the Shakespeare in Action office, many of us have come to Toronto from other areas of Canada (or even places like Australia and Asia). Your blogger is getting ready to move all the way to British Columbia in the fall. While leaving your home and family can be daunting, the knowledge that a new adventure awaits can make parting a “sweet sorrow” indeed.



By: Kathleen

Wordy Wednesday – “I will wear my heart upon my sleeve”

Hey everyone!

Today is the opening of Romeo and Juliet! Yay. Don’t forget to come see the play sometime between April 6 – 21. It’s a love story that really wears its heart on its sleeve, which leads us to the theme of this Wordy Wednesday!

The phrase “I will wear my heart upon my sleeve” was first used by Iago, the charming evil villain in Shakespeare’s Othello.  In this scene, he reveals that he is not loyal to Othello, although he pretends to be a devoted friend; he is really working towards his own “peculiar end.” According to Iago, honest men who share their feelings are easy prey for “daws to peck at.” It is safer to lie and hide your true intentions. Therefore, Iago says, “I am not what I am”. Rather than wear his heart openly, he is not what he appears.

It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago.
In following him, I follow but myself;
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so, for my peculiar end;
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In complement extern, ’tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at. I am not what I am.