Our Story

The story of Shakespeare Does begins twenty-two years ago . . .

Paul & Vanessa when they first met

Paul and Vanessa met at drama school.  They started off like Beatrice and Benedick, not being able to stand the sight of each other!  But, just like those firey characters from Much Ado, they soon realised that they had more in common than not, and became good friends, then great friends, then soul mates.

For Vanessa’s 20th birthday, Paul re-wrote the lyrics to Queen’s You’re My Best Friend as a Shakespearean sonnet.  It melted Vanessa’s heart, and they became a couple.  Paul was over the moon!  Just like Shakespeare himself might have done 400 years previously, Paul had used his writing skills to woo his love!

Paul writes an early sonnet for Vanessa

For a while after that Paul, inspired by his love of Shakespeare, would continue to write sonnets to Vanessa.  Sometimes original, and sometimes rewriting nursery rhymes.  This came from Vanessa still having a book of nursery rhymes from her childhood that she held onto with great sentimental value.  Little Miss Muffet was her favourite – that was the first one that Paul rewrote and gave it to her for her 21st birthday.  She still has the original copy.

But the course of true love never did run smooth, and over the next few years they drifted apart.  Their work took them both further afield, and eventually they went their separate ways, completely losing contact for the best part of ten years, living three hundred miles apart.  But Paul always held on to an inscribed copy of Romeo and Juliet that Vanessa had bought him, and she always kept her collection of sonnets, You’re My Best Friend being the one closest to her heart.

Then, recently and completely out of the blue, giddy Fortune’s furious fickle wheel came into play.  Paul heard the Queen song played on the radio – a song he hadn’t even thought about for years – but as soon as he heard it he was reminded of his love.  He posted on social media of his happy memories, and quite by chance Vanessa happened to see it.

Something in her stirred.  After three days of trying, she finally managed to contact Paul.  Their relationship was rekindled immediately.  They met up again at the Globe Theatre in London.  Paul brought a gift of a new sonnet, You’re Still My Best Friend.

All these years after their first meeting they are, as well as being back together as a pair of star-cross’d lovers, still the best of friends.  To quote the man himself: “A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still gently allows you to grow.”

The range of products and gift ideas that are available from Shakespeare Does are inspired by their story.  We hope you like them.

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