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“Mamma Mia!”, less than 1 in 5 can identify Shakespeare quotes

A recent survey shows that only 16% of Brits can identify well-known (and commonly used in everyday conversations) Shakespeare quotes. However, when the same people were asked again, more than double the amount (34%) are able to identify songs from successful musicals.

The survey, conducted by Thistle Hotels and OnePoll, shows that the lack of people’s Shakespeare knowledge may well be due to the fact that just over a half (53%) have ever seen a Shakespeare play. He’s known as one of the most iconic British people and yet, not many take an interest in his work.

People’s main reason for not going to a stage production is the high price but still, Brits prefer to go see a musical production which is more likely to cost more to attend than a Shakespeare play. 38% favoured musicals compared to only 7% saying Shakespeare plays are their favourite stage production. The question is, do people have a better knowledge of musical songs because the most popular ones have recently been interpreted on screen?

Top results in Shakespeare vs. Musicals knowledge:

  • “To be or not to be, that is the question” Hamlet – Correctly identified by 52%
  • “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!” Richard III – Correctly identified by 44%
  • “The winner takes it all, the loser has to fall” Mamma Mia – Correctly identified by 64%
  • “I closed my eyes, drew back the curtain, to see for certain, what I thought I knew” Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – Correctly identified by 55%

Please see Thistle’s blog post for all the stats for each quote and song lyrics Brits were able to answer correctly. The blog post also includes more information on how to easier and more affordable access show productions: