Plans for Much Ado About Portsmouth

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Amy Bonnor talks about Much Ado About Portsmouth and the festival to celebrate Shakespeare

In April 2016, Portsmouth will be host to a festival marking the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death.

It is being co-ordinated by Dr Rosie Paice, Lynda Povey and Sue Roberts from the University of Portsmouth, alongside a team of students from across the university, and local organizations from around the city.

It has aptly been named Much Ado About Portsmouth because we want to celebrate the two wonderful things that are Portsmouth and Shakespeare together.

It’s going to great: there will be stalls, events and activities appealing to all.

Saturday morning started as any other for Southsea’s park runners, except the university Chancellor Sandi Toksvig, and the Vice Chancellor, Graham Gailbraith, were also in the line-up!

However, as the crowd limbered up on the start line a flood of purple appeared.

Several university members from the Much Ado About Portsmouth team donned their finest running attire and dusted off their trainers for the five kilometre event. The aim of this early morning madness? To raise funds via sponsorship of our marvellous team for the week-long event in April, and to raise awareness through our custom-made Shakespearian themed t-shirt.

Each t-shirt features the logo designed by our logo competition winner and provided our new website address and inspiring Shakespeare running quotations on the back.

We came armed with t-shirts to present to Sandi Toksvig with the quotation ‘Though she be but little, she is fierce’ from a Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the Vice Chancellor, Professor Graham Galbraith, who were running the race to promote healthy living among University of Portsmouth staff and students.

The Shakespearians sped away from the starting line, their purple T’s fading into the distance and I followed at the end, contemplating the event next April.

Our team members did excellently. The speediest runners and I were there to cheer the other participants as they came through the finishing line, looking very pleased to have completed the race. The post-run consensus was that five kilometres isn’t as bad as expected and we told people about Much Ado About Portsmouth. Success!

Next year there will be a Shakespearian bake-off event, fashion show, various acting workshops and theatrical events around the city. We are very excited about this and hope that we can inspire even more Portsmouth and Southsea residents to get involved!

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