Thoughts Story

Thought of the week: Hope and help

Artistic Director Michelle Terry shares a feeling of hopefulness as she witnesses the kindness of the human spirit

2 minute read

Text: How far that little candle throws his beams! The Merchant of Venice, Act V, scene 1

As I waited in the long queue for a well-known supermarket over the weekend, I had almost reached the entrance when an elderly lady went by pushing an empty shopping trolley. The queue was enormous and everyone assumed she was making her way to the back.

Immediately a whole line of people shouted at this woman to join the queue.

She then raised her arm and showed us three full and heavy bags, explained that she had already done her shopping, was now returning the trolley and then making her way to the bus stop.

And then she said that she needed help.

There was a pause.

The previously selfless and very vocal queue had gone silent.

And you could see the speech bubbles above everyone’s head: “but I have come this far / I have been waiting for hours / she’s clearly too vulnerable / she shouldn’t be out / someone else will do it.”

And then the pause passed and every single person stepped outside of the queue to help.

People momentarily forgot the social distancing rules as they reached for the bags and reached for the trolley,  and reached for the lady. And then just as quickly remembered the rules again and tried to help and comfort at a two metre distance.

Someone took the trolley, someone carried her shopping, someone offered to take her home in their car. Everyone knew she was vulnerable, as were we all, but above everything, people wanted to help.

How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a weary world.

— The Merchant of Venice



Each week during the UK lockdown, our Artistic Director Michelle Terry shares her thought of the week.

Using Shakespeare’s language, Michelle reflects on the individual and universal meaning of the words. By giving personal and emotional insight, she uses the quote to relate to, and express, the mood of this uncertain time.