Part of a series on Dramatic Reading. [View Related Entries]

Updated Jan 31, 2018 at 10:26PM EST by Brad.

Added Sep 28, 2015 at 01:52PM EDT by Brad.

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#15SecondShakespeare is a series of short video clips in which the subject performs a dramatic reading of contemporary pop song lyrics in the style of Elizabethan literature, in a similar vein to the archaic rap image macro series.


The Elizabethan recital fad was first introduced in a video clip posted by British actor David Fynn via his Instagram account under the name "15 Second Shakespeare" on January 4th, 2015. In the 15-second video, Fynn performs a dramatic reading of the chorus from Carly Rae Jepsen's 2011 dance pop hit single "Call Me Maybe" in a whispering voice.

Throughout January 2015, Fynn uploaded two additional recital clips with the hashtag #15SecondShakespeare, featuring Shakespearean renditions of Baha Men's 2000 hit song "Who Let The Dogs Out" and Jamaican musician Ini Kamoze's 1994 reggae song "Here Comes The Hotstepper" (shown below, left & center). However, Fynn's hobby project largely went unnoticed until September 11th, when he posted a #15SecondShakespeare rendition of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song to his Instagram account (shown below, right). Within two weeks of upload, the post garnered 240 likes and 20 comments.


That same day, New York-based actor David Baynes uploaded an Instagram video post featuring his Shakespearean recital of Spice Girls' 1996 hit single "Wannabe" (shown below, left). On September 12th, British actor Simon Riordan uploaded his #15SecondShakespeare rendition of Gwen Stefani's 2004 solo debut single "Hollaback Girl" (shown below, right).

Throughout the month of September, hundreds of additional videos featuring dramatic recitals of pop song lyrics surfaced on Instagram and Twitter under the hashtag #15SecondShakespeare, largely driven by celebrity participation from dozens of well-known English-speaking actors and actresses, as well as the incorporation of a nomination process previously used in the 2014 viral dare game Ice Bucket Challenge.

Red Cross Donations

On September 23rd, David Fynn, the British actor who started the participatory video trend on Instagram, tweeted a message declaring the hashtag as a fundraising campaign for Red Cross to provide assistance in the ongoing European Migration Crisis. On the next day, the official British Red Cross blog[17] ran a similar article promoting the fundraising aspect of the dramatic reading meme.

David Fynn @davidfynn #15secondShakespeare will now be supporting the efforts of the charity RED CROSS in the Refugee Crisis. When recording please donate 1st... RETWEETSFAVORITES 105 12:58 PM-23 Sep 2015

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