William Shakespeare is responsible for some of the most memorable lines in all of the English language through his celebrated plays and evocative verse. The question is does your own writing have the poetic power to match?

Richmond Theatre is looking for poets in the local area and beyond to send in their sonnets, the poetic form most widely known through William Shakespeare’s own efforts. The competition is being held to celebrate the vibrant, rhythmic language of Twelfth Night, which tours to Richmond Theatre from Tue 18 – Sat 22 Nov.

Originating in Italy in the 13th Century, the rules of a sonnet are simple. The poem cannot exceed 14 lines and each of those must be written in traditional iambic pentameter, the metrical line which best resembles the length of an average human breath. It’s a poetic form that has not only produced beautiful sonnets, but also provided the structure through which most of Shakespeare’s theatrical speech was written.

The theme of the competition is deception and disguise, two of the key concepts that run through Twelfth Night, which you can choose to interpret in any way you wish. You can focus on Viola’s dual identities from the play’s well-known narrative or perhaps set your sonnet in modern-day Richmond. The only limit is your imagination!

Twelfth Night will be at Richmond Theatre in November
Twelfth Night will be at Richmond Theatre in November
 

The deadline is Friday 7th November at 5pm and all sonnets we receive will be judged at the theatre by a panel of esteemed literary experts and the cast from the visiting production, before a winning sonneteer is selected. They will receive a pair of tickets to see English Touring Theatre and Sheffield Theatres’ five-star version of Twelfth Night, which was described as ‘a piercing and delicately judged blend of rapture and rue... exquisite’ by The Times, as well as a copy of Shakespeare’s Complete Works, courtesy of Richmond Waterstones.

So come on, is it really that hard to write like the Bard? Richmond Theatre is waiting for your entries! Send your sonnets via e-mail to rtmarketing@theambassadors.com or, alternatively, post a hard copy to Search for

a Sonneteer Competition, Marketing Department, Richmond Theatre, The Green, Surrey, TW9 1QJ. All entries must include contact details (phone no./e-mail) to be eligible. The winners’ tickets cannot be exchanged for another date.

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David Fielder as Sir Toby Belch
David Fielder as Sir Toby Belch
 

The English Touring Theatre is returning to Richmond following their memorable recent visits with Tonight at 8.30 and The Misanthrope with Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night this autumn from 18 to 22 November.

Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare’s most glorious and popular comedies of twins, love and mistaken identities which returns to Richmond with a fantastic cast. Sheffield Theatres and English Touring Theatre today announce the full cast for their co-production of Twelfth Night.

This is the company’s second collaboration with English Touring Theatre following Translations as part of the recent Brian Friel Season.  Following performances at Sheffield Theatres, Twelfth Night embarks on a national tour to Blackpool Grand, Watford Palace, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Hall for Cornwall, Richmond Theatre and Theatre Royal Brighton. A shipwreck separates twins who start new lives unknowingly in the same land. Disguise and deception, unrequited love and confusion set the scene for Shakespeare’s touching comedy of mischief, madness and infatuation.