Barely has the quill dried on Michael Billington's series, Shakespeare's plays: as you like them – in which our theatre critic picked his favourite productions of each and every work – than another Bard marathon appears.
Simon Russell Beale will be among 10 leading UK stage actors stepping up to read all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets in a single evening at the Southbank Centre in London, as part of ongoing celebrations of the 450th anniversary of the playwright's birth.
Currently appearing as King Lear at the neighbouring National Theatre, Russell Beale will lead a merry band of Shakespearean players that includes Harriet Walter, Juliet Stevenson and David Harewood for the complete sonnets reading on 1 June, which launches the Southbank's Festival of Love programme.
Contemporary writers Dan Simpson and Niall O'Sullivan will be locked in the venue's Saison poetry library from midnight of the same evening to write and tweet 154 new poems, while the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company will be responding to both sonnet cycles throughout the weekend.
Before the professionals take to the stage, members of the public are being invited to learn by heart their own favourite Shakespeare sonnet for a mass readathon.
So, which 14 lines would you choose? Are you a Sonnet 18 or Sonnet 116 populist, or do you lean towards one of the lesser-known poems in the cycle? While researching his book Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets, the Scottish poet Don Paterson took a straw poll of people's favourites and reported that everyone named the same 10 poems.
"The problem with reading Shakespeare's sonnets is the sonnets themselves," he wrote in the Guardian. "A Shakespeare sonnet is almost as much a synonym for love poem as Mona Lisa is for beautiful woman. When something becomes proverbial, it almost disappears; and worse, we're allowed to think we know it when we really don't."
Once you have memorised your favourite though, take your cue from Russell Beale for the reading itself. In a recent Guardian webchat, the actor offered his advice on good diction: "I think clarity is as much to do with intention as anything else. You must really want to talk to people in the back row and if you really want to, you will." The actor added: "Easier said than done, though."
Which Shakespeare sonnet would you choose to read? Share your favourites in the comments below
As you like them: Michael Billington picks his favourite productions of every Shakespeare play
Don Paterson on reading Shakespeare's sonnets
Simon Russell Beale answers your questions on Lear and more