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Brits twice as likely to identify musical lyrics as Shakespeare quotes

New research has provided insights into audience taste and behaviour

Oliver Tompsett and cast
© Johan Persson

A new poll has revealed that Brits are twice as likely to identify famous musical lyrics as famous Shakespeare quotes.

According to the results, only 16 per cent of participants could identify all six commonplace Shakespeare plays from given quotes, while 34 per cent could identify the musical from six sets of lyrics provided.

As an example – 53 per cent of respondees could identify that "To be or not to be, that is the question" was from Hamlet, while 55 per cent sussed that "I closed my eyes, drew back the curtain, to see for certain, what I thought I knew" was the opening line from "Any Dream Will Do" in Joseph.

However, only 16 per cent knew that "If music be the food of love, play on" was from Twelfth Night, while 42 per cent knew "Memory, all alone in the moonlight" was from Cats.

The same research (with 2000 residents from across the country surveyed) also found that only 53 per cent of those polled had ever actually seen a Shakespeare show live, with respondees more likely to see musicals if given the choice.

The research states that 12 per cent of UK residents don't go to the theatre because they don't know anyone who wants to go with them, while 12 per cent also struggle because of family commitments including childcare.

The poll was conducted by Thistle Hotels and OnePoll – you can see the full results here.