Imdb explains the plot: "William Shakespeare, without saying a word, gives a quick run through of all his plays in a very special audition."
Barry Purves - Will, a poor player (animation)
Roger Rees - Peter, a Producer (voice)
The film was commissioned by Channel 4 as part of a 5-part series of Aardman animations called "Lip Synch": Creature Comforts (1989), Going Equipped (1990), Ident (1990), Next (1990) and War Story (1989). Imdb explains: "The "sunburst" which rotates behind William Shakespeare in the "Cymbeline" sequence was not present in the original storyboard nor fabricated for this purpose. Rather, it comes from a clock which was discovered by the director, by chance, in a skip nearby the studio on the day that scene was to be filmed."
Peter looks like Peter Hall and is reading one of Hall's books. The halo indicates that he represents Saint Peter, and that Shakespeare is auditioning to get into Heaven. The film references many Shakespeare plays.
A clip of this short was shown in the 2003 documentary Animated Century.
On imdb, Next received a rating of 7.3/10 from 188 users.