Next April would have been William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. So it is only appropriate that for the next year a group of 154 actors from the New York Shakespeare Exchange will be undertaking the Sonnet Project by performing all of Shakespeare’s sonnets in videos filmed in New York City. A different actor of the company, whose members include Michael Urie, Joanna Gleason and Chris Sarandon, will perform each sonnet in locations throughout each of the city’s five boroughs, and the videos of those performances will be posted throughout the year on SonnetProjectNYC.com. The goal of the project is to reach an audience of 1,000,000 by April 23, 2014 (Shakespeare’s birthday) and hopefully raise a greater awareness of and appreciation for the Bard and make him more of an active part of contemporary culture. Directors interested in participating can submit themselves for consideration through the project’s website.
Besides watching the videos on the website you will be able to view them on a mobile app that the Sonnet Project is developing, which will deliver each video to your phone along with direct access to text analysis. There will also be sonnet-based walking tours of NYC neighborhoods, scavenger hunts, and other sonnet-based events throughout the year. At the end of the project, an anthology of all the videos will be released, complete with special features, interviews with the cast, and behind the scenes footage.
The Sonnet Project will kick off with a preview of the first video at the Drama Book Shop (250 West 40th Street) on April 26th, from 5-7 p.m. The event is free to the public and will feature a wine and cheese reception and a Shakespearean open-mike platform.
This article originally appeared on Zola Books.