Convincing students of the richness and beauty of Shakespeare’s timeless language can be tough at the best of times. And this is hardly the best of times. As the Bard himself once succinctly put it: “We have seen better days.”
If you’re an English teacher looking for resources to jazz up your virtual lessons, however, many people and organisations have stepped up to help – from Shakespeare's Globe offering its Playing Shakespeare: Macbeth resources for free to teachers and parents, to the National Theatre releasing new digital resources with recordings of world-class theatre productions and learning materials.
But one of the favourite resources has proven to be one of the least flashy: one man, one book and a whole lot of sonnets. Sir Patrick Stewart may be best known by many for his voyages on the Starship Enterprise as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the Star Trek universe, but he also has an accomplished career as a classical Shakespearean actor. And now, he’s taken his passion for the Bard’s poetry to Twitter, where he’s reading a sonnet a day.
How Shakespeare can help teachers cope with The Tempest
While Sir Patrick is undoubtedly a master narrator, students finding it difficult to connect with Shakespeare may find it heartening to know that he has skipped a few of the sonnets because they're difficult to read – showing that even the experts struggle, sometimes.
As Sir Patrick is currently up to Sonnet 18 – in his words, "perhaps the most well-known sonnet in the book" – we have compiled a list of our favourites so far: