William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare



William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and probably the world's most famous playwright. He was born in 1564 and died in 1616. The third child born to John Shakespeare and Mary Arden, his youth was spent in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England before heading into London to eventually become the playwright known today. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, an older woman of twenty-six who was already pregnant. They had three children: Susanna, born in 1583, and twins, Judith and Hamnet, born in 1585. Unfortunately, Hamnet died in 1596 when he was just 11 years old, although this was common in a period that had high levels of infant mortality.

Yet, aside from these facts, very little is known about William Shakespeare and his life. We believe that he left his family behind in Stratford-Upon-Avon for around 20 years while he pursued his theatrical career in London. He certainly became known as an astute businessman, purchasing real estate in and around Stratford after 1601.

He is widely regarded as the author of 37 plays, 154 sonnets, and a portfolio of poems....although some academics cast doubt on whether Shakespeare did indeed write all the plays that are attributed to him! However, we do know that he was also an actor and appeared before Queen Elizabeth I in 1594. In 1595 he was listed as one of the shareholders of the Lord Chamberlain's Company (a theater company) and he is recorded as one of the owners of the Globe Theatre, London, in 1599.

William Shakespeare's plays are performed and celebrated throughout the world and his theatrical legacy lives on.

In his will, William Shakespeare left his wife the 'second-best bed'!

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Shows by William Shakespeare


In the Catalan region of Rossillion, a lower-born woman by the name of Helena becomes the ward of the Countess, when her father passes away. Helena is helplessly in love with the Countess’ son, Bertram, and convinces her to g... read more

One of Shakespeare’s most well-known tragedies, Antony and Cleopatra, tells the tale of Mark Antony, one of the three rulers of the Roman Empire, and Cleopatra, the infamous Queen of Egypt. After living the life of luxury in... read more

In one of Shakespeare’s most beloved romantic pastoral comedies, we follow the young heroine Rosalind from the court of her vindictive uncle, Duke Frederick, into the Eden-like Forest of Arden, where her banished father is li... read more

Boy loses twin. Boy seeks twin. Boy finds trouble. When Antipholus of Syracuse leaves his home, with his trusty servant Dromio in tow, and spends seven years searching for his long-lost twin brother, he finds his life in dang... read more

In Shakespeare’s shortest play and one of his most farcical comedies, we see the problem that arises when one loses their identity. The story follows two sets of twins, separated at birth: The Antipholuses and their servants... read more

Shakespeare’s tragedy, Coriolanus, starts in Rome, where rioting is taking place over grain stock that has been withheld from the ordinary citizens, leaving them starved. Two Roman leaders, Caius Martius and Menenius Agrippa,... read more

One of Shakespeare’s last plays, and one of his few genre-bending romances, Cymbeline contains story elements and themes from many familiar tragedies, including his own. Considered one of Shakespeare’s greatest heroines, Imog... read more

Prince Hamlet of Denmark is not a happy camper. He has just been hurried back home from University to learn that his father the King is dead, and that his mother has already jumped into “incestuous sheets” by marrying his f... read more

The second Henry IV play opens with Prince Hal and his longtime mentor and friend, Falstaff, together, once more. The criminals and lowlifes with whom Hal and Falstaff consort are winning some power, and Falstaff is recruitin... read more

William Shakespeare's Henry IV Part I is based on the life of King Henry IV of England and his son, Prince Hal, who eventually is crowned King Henry V. At this time, King Henry has deposed King Richard II and now sits on the... read more

Under sinister pressure from the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the young King Henry the Fifth is lured into claiming much of Medieval France as property of the English Crown. After being insulted by The... read more

At the beginning of Henry VI, Part 1, King Henry V's funeral is taking place, and messengers arrive with news of trouble in France. The noblemen rise up and plan tasks to reclaim their land from the French. The new king, who... read more

This play follows King Henry VI, beginning with his marriage to French Margaret of Anjou. She is a student of William de la Pole, a noble who seeks to influence the king's behavior through his relationship with Margaret. Me... read more

This play rounds out the trilogy of Henry VI plays. These plays plus Richard III make up the play cycle often called "The War of the Roses". In King Henry VI Part 3, King Henry VI and York come to an agreement that Henry w... read more

In Great Britain in the 1500s, Cardinal Wolsey is a powerful and ruthless man who has made many enemies. He has the Duke of Buckingham arrested on charges of treason. Henry VIII is good friends with Wolsey, but Queen Kather... read more

Based on true events in Roman history, Julius Caesar tells the story of the powerful ruler brought down by the betrayal of those he held dear. Julius Caesar has just emerged victorious in a series of Roman civil wars and has... read more

King John holds the throne of England illegitimately, having stolen it from the rightful heir, his nephew Arthur. Supported by his powerful mother, Queen Elinor, John decides to go to war with France. Arthur's mother, Const... read more

The aging King Lear resolves to turn his kingdom over to his three daughters – once each tells him how much she loves him. This test of eloquence yields consequences Lear little expects when the favored Cordelia says nothing... read more

King Ferdinand of Navarre has sworn an oath that for three years, he will transform his kingdom into an “academe” . His subjects will reject the world’s pleasures, including women, in favor of an ascetic lifestyle and a compl... read more

Heroic Macbeth has just won two victorious battles for Scotland, when he encounters three weird sisters who tell him this is only the beginning of his path to glory. They foresee that Macbeth will become the Thane of Cawdor,... read more

The Duke of Vienna, Vincentio, leaves the city on a diplomatic mission. While he is away, he places Vienna in the care of his subordinate, Angelo, who decides to tighten the city's anti-fornication laws. A young nobleman, C... read more

In the melting pot of Venice, currency opens many doors. A multicultural metropolis, Venice welcomes its arms to all – so long as they come prepared for the brutality of the business of trade. Young Bassanio wants to take a... read more

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a story of four interconnecting plots, all leading to the celebration of the wedding of Duke Theseus and the Amazon Queen, Hippolyta. We see the fairy King, Oberon, and his wife, Tytania, quarrel... read more

In one of the most famous of literary love quadrangles, A Midsummer Night’s Dream tells the tale of Hermia, Demetrius, Lysander, and Helena; four misguided lovers whose journey into the woods lands them in even more trouble,... read more

The Bard’s famous comedic romp known for the brilliant war of words between the feisty Beatrice and the staunch bachelor Benedick, Much Ado About Nothing plays out amidst the brittle high spirits of a post-war house party. W... read more

Shakespeare’s Othello is one of his most intimate and devastating tragedies of all. It is a story about society, status and the nature of the outsider – but it is also a story about the love and trust between friends, and be... read more

Gower, the narrator, begins our story in the palace of King Antiochus who is meeting Pericles, Prince of Tyre, a suitor who comes to win his daughter’s hand in marriage. In order to have her, Pericles must solve a riddle, but... read more

To what lengths will one man go to be king? Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, has his eye on the throne of England and desires all of the power it entails. However, his brother Edward is king, and there are several people--inc... read more

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a love story for the ages. The Capulet and Montague households have been embroiled in a bloody fight for as long as anyone in Verona, Italy can remember. The death toll is mounting, and it... read more

Modest and beautiful young Bianca is the most coveted young maiden in Padua...but no one can marry her before a match is found for her wild, willful, “shrewish” older sister, Kate. Kate has tormented and frightened every man... read more

For twelve years, Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, has been living on a remote, uninhabited Mediterranean Island with only his daughter, Miranda , Caliban , and Ariel . Prospero has learned the magical arts through deep me... read more

Timon holds a massive banquet and hands out money freely to everyone there. Only Apementus, a cynical philosopher, receives none. Timon finds out that his friend Ventidus, is in prison, and pays his bail. He then holds a m... read more

Shakespeare’s most gruesome effort as a dramatist begins with an argument over succession to the throne of Emperor in Rome, progresses through a series of awful rapes and murders, and ends with nearly everyone who speaks in t... read more

In the later years of the Trojan War, Troilus, a prince of Troy, tries to woo Cressida, a fellow Trojan. They fall in love, but she is sent as a part of a prisoner exchange to the opposing camp. Diomedes, a Greek prince, fl... read more

Often lauded as one of the most structurally perfect comedies ever written and beloved by audiences for generations, Twelfth Night; or, What You Will is a masterpiece. Shipwrecked on the shores of the strange land, Illyria,... read more

Two Gentleman of Verona follows two best friends: Valentine and Proteus. Valentine is about to depart Verona for the more cosmopolitan city of Milan, while Proteus is staying behind to woo the lovely Julia. Proteus’ father ha... read more

At the opening of The Winter’s Tale, the Sicilian King Leontes and his beloved, pregnant wife, Hermione, try to persuade their dear friend, King Polixenes of Bohemia, to stay longer in their royal court. When Hermione proves... read more


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Play, Musical, Opera
Comedy, Dark Comedy, Drama, Historical/Biographical, Tragedy, Farce, Romance, Fairy Tale/Fantasy, Horror