William Shakespeare 400 Anniversary

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright and actor, born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564.  To mark the 400 Anniversary of his death we have selected a number of books to help your children discover more about the life and works of the greatest playwright of all time.

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Willliam Shakespeare

A 400 Year Legacy

We know little about the early life of William Shakespeare, but do know that at 18 he married Anne Hathaway and had three children, Susanna and then twins Hamnet and Judith. His son, Hamnet died in childhood.


By 1592 he had moved to London and was working as an actor and playwright, and part of an acting company which later became known as the King's Men. This company had interests in the Globe Theatre on the Southbank and the Blackfriars indoor theatre, and by 1594 Shakespeare's playwrighting began in earnest.  He was a prolific writer, producing around two plays a year, he prospered and his reputation grew. 

 

His early plays were mostly histories and comedies - Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry VI, The Taming of the Shrew, Richard III amongst others.  By early 1600 he was writing some of his greatest tragedies such as Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear.


Shakespeare spent the last five years of his life living in New Place in Stratford and died on 23 April 1616 at the age of 52.  He was buried two days later in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford and is also commemorated in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey.


Known as the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare is widely accepted to have been the greatest playwright of all time and his poems and plays are studied and performed all over the world.
 


To mark the anniversary there are numerous events including :

The Complete Walk with The Globe Theatre : A walk along the Thames celebrating scenes from Shakespeare's plays.

Shakespeare400 : A rich variety of exhibitions and talks on theatre, manuscripts, archaeology and artifacts from Shakespeare's world.

And performances across the capital and beyond at The Globe, Barbican and Royal Festival Hall - find out more here.