“A Mouthful of Jewels”
Reading aloud Shakespeare’s carefully crafted lines has been likened to having “a mouthful of jewels”.
I began attending the Shakespeare Reading Group six years ago. I had been a long time in hospital, but given some good new medication I was stabilising. Still, I was suffering with that institutionalisation which comes with long stays in hospital. I heard about the Shakespeare Reading Group which met once a week in Birkenhead. I have always loved poetry, plays and literature, so I was naturally interested. Very kindly my CPN would taxi me there from hospital each week.
Initially I found it a little difficult to shake off the stress and paranoia attached to being in a group situation. The sessions were an hour and a half long and I was exhausted by the end. But the people attending were very friendly and the session leader was very knowledgeable. Slowly my mind relaxed enough to start to make sense of the rich language we were reading. And then I found I could be thoroughly transfixed for the entire session –the plots and characters taking us all on a journey away from the everyday. We didn’t just read the parts aloud, we stopped to discuss what we’d read, the writing’s relevance to today’s world often resonating with us.
I still attend the Shakespeare Reading Group, it’s still an important part of my week. We are currently reading Macbeth for the second time. These days I do other activities too, voluntary work and other interest groups, but all that other stuff was built around and upon the foundation of the Shakespeare Group. I have watched whilst other people have attended, found a voice, grown in confidence, found fulfillment and friendship.
Further information about The Reader Organisation reading groups is available from their website