The Oak Lane Shakespeare Club
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 09:39PM
Ed Pettit in Shakespeare

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend

The brightest heaven of invention,

A kingdom for a stage, princes to act

And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!

--the Chorus’ opening lines of Henry the Fifth 

The Chorus opens Shakespeare’s play with a plea for divine intervention that would create the world of the story about to be unfolded because a mere wooden stage cannot possibly hold real battlefields and real kings.  But when we read Shakespeare, we do conjure in our minds these worlds entire.   

The Oak Lane Shakespeare Club was founded in 1908 and has met continuously since then.  We are a group of dedicated readers who enjoy reading Shakespeare aloud.  On the first and third Mondays of each month (Oct through May) we meet in members’ homes, divide up the parts and read the play to each other.  Generally, we divide a play into two meetings.  We also read one non-Shakespeare play per year.  

Reading Shakespeare aloud is an exhilirating experience.  I like to think of it as active reading.  You’d be surprised how different (and more affecting) the text is when read aloud.  Reading these plays aloud releases Shakespeare’s Muse of Fire.  We are not actors and our meetings are not performances, but whole worlds are created when we read.  

Before we read, one member gives a short presentation either on the evening’s play or on another Shakespearean topic.  Then we read.  No specialized knowledge is required.  The meetings last approximately 3 hours.  

We’re looking for like-minded readers who enjoy Shakespeare and are looking for an enjoyable way of  reading his plays.  Or maybe, readers who have always wanted to read Shakespeare, but have just never found the time.  

Out next two meetings are on Monday Feb 4 and Monday Feb 18.  We are reading our non-Shakespeare play this month, Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist.  

If interested contact me ( and I’ll tell you more about the club.  We encourage readers to attend meetings as guests and join in the fun.  Come and find out about you own inner Muse of Fire.

Article originally appeared on Edward G Pettit (
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