Page last updated at 13:16 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 14:16 UK

Author pens Shakespeare, 'Innit'

To Be or Not To Be, Innit" cMartin Baum
Author Martin Baum's book has 15 abridged versions of Shakespeare

A Dorset author has rewritten some of the works of William Shakespeare entirely in so-called "yoof speak".

Satirist Martin Baum said his book, To Be or Not To Be, Innit, was a way of combining text speak and street slang with the Bard's classics.

The book includes Macbeff and Two Geezas of Verona, among 15 abridged versions of Shakespeare's work.

Mr Baum, 48, said "text speak and street slang" was becoming normal for a lot of young people.

He added: "The inspiration came from the fact that while people of my generation were brought up with and educated in the classics, I have found through my son and various headlines in the national press that the youth of today are not.

"I'm a satirist, and I've also been aware through material I've written that text speak and street slang is becoming the norm for a lot of the younger generation.

"It struck me that there had to be a way to bring the two together.

"[The book] was merely intended initially to cause a few ripples and provide entertainment around the time of Shakespeare's birthday.

"Traditionalists are very protective - understandably - but they don't have an exclusivity on the classics."

Other titles include Much Ado About Sod All and All's Sweet That Ends Sweet, Innit.

"Shakespeare created so many new words, so we won't be precious about it
Jacqui O'Hanlon, RSC

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) - which is running a campaign to introduce more people to the Bard, entitled Stand Up for Shakespeare - broadly welcomed the book.

Jacqui O'Hanlon, the RSC's director of education, said: "We know that when young people are introduced to Shakespeare in a positive way, they find a real relevance.

"Shakespeare is much more than a masterful story teller, it's the way he uses his stories and the language he uses.

"Shakespeare created so many new words, so we won't be precious about it.

"We want people to have a lifelong association with Shakespeare, so this may help."

Mr Baum, from Verwood, is planning to write his next book based on the work of Charles Dickens.

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