• What is the Sonnet Slam?

    The Sonnet Slam is a free public event held at the 9th floor lounge of Riverside Church on April 22 where 154 people of all ages and abilities speak all 154 of Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

  • Is it on Shakespeare’s Birthday?

    Not exactly. We don’t know the day Shakespeare was born but we do know he was christened on April 26, 1564, so the Sonnet Slam is produced around that date.

    Shakespeare's baptism record

  • Can anyone read a Shakespeare Sonnet?

    Yes, and you can perform it however you wish.

  • If I register in advance, do I get to pick my Sonnet number?

    No, that would create logistical problems since most people generally like the same top five sonnets or so. Sonnets are assigned randomly.

  • If I’m a member of an actors’ union, do I get paid?

    No one is paid to speak a sonnet at the Slam. Unions allow their performers to participate in this event since you are performing as yourself, there is no rehearsal and you are not directed in any way as to how you speak your Sonnet.

  • Will there be a video of my Sonnet reading?

    Yes, the event is videotaped for educational purposes. We edit the readings in groups of 30 and those clips are posted online. If you wish to have a solo clip or a solo clip with a dedication, we ask that you donate to the production costs to help pay for the crew, the videography and editing team.

    Here's the video from 2022

  • What can I say at the mic? Can I advertise a show I am in?

    Please speak only your name, Sonnet number and the text of the Sonnet. For example: "I’m Melinda Hall and this is Sonnet number thirty-one." And then perform your Sonnet.

    Since we have 154 Readers, keeping it just you and Shakespeare allows for a unique experience where there is no pitching or promoting. If you are involved with something fun and you want people to know about it, you can share it with us on social media pages in advance.

    Facebook: SonnetSlam
  • How long do I have to be there?

    Everyone must show up in person about one hour before we start. You show your face, sign your video release form (if you haven’t done so in advance) and get a nametag. Once you speak your Sonnet number, you can leave or you can stay and support the other Sonneteers.

    Check in is from noon to 12:30pm in the 9th floor lounge and the Slam starts promptly at 1pm. If you do not check-in, we may assume you are a no-show and give your Sonnet to a Standby Reader.

  • Who pays for the Sonnet Slam?

    All the wonderful people who donate their own money. This pays for the production costs of the venue rental, videography, audio engineering and all costs to produce such an ambitious celebration.

  • Why are donations made through Fractured Atlas?

    Fractured Atlas helps artists thrive and ensures your donation is tax-deductible.

  • Why did you create the Sonnet Slam?

    I wanted to make a place for you to speak Shakespeare, even if it’s only for a minute.

Melinda Hall
Creator & Producer