Über William Shakespeare

(* 23 April 1564 (?); 26 April 1564; 23 April 1616)

William Shakespeare, possibly the greatest English writer of all time, was born in Stratford-upon-Avon to Mary and John Shakespeare. His date of birth is debatable but as he was baptised on 26 April 1564 in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford, 23 April 1564 is considered to be his birthday, making it at the same time easy to memorize as he also died on 23 April, in 1616.

At the age of 18, he married the pregnant Anne Hathaway and had three children with her: Susanna (born 1583), Hamnet and Judith (twins, born 1585). The years between the birth of his children and his first appearance as writer and actor in London in 1592 are called the ‘lost years’ since nothing is known about how Shakespeare spent those seven years.

In the London theatre scene, Shakespeare was a member of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a company which performed most of his plays and became the leading acting company in London. Gaining the patronage of King James I in 1603, they were renamed the King’s Men. From 1599 onwards, the company staged a great deal of their pieces in the Globe Theatre on the southern bank of the Thames.
Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. As no manuscripts have survived, some of his plays are only known today because they were published in the so-called First Folio in 1623. The surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of c. 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems:

Early 1590s

  • The Two Gentleman of Verona (performed by BUSC in 1999)
  • The Taming of the Shrew (performed by BUSC in 1994 / 2011)
  • Henry VI, Part 1
  • Henry VI, Part 2
  • Henry VI, Part 3
  • Titus Andronicus (performed by BUSC in 1999/ 2014)
  • Richard III (performed by BUSC in 2010)

Mid 1590s

  • The Comedy of Errors
  • Love’s Labour’s Lost (performed by BUSC in 2010, abridged)
  • Richard II (performed by BUSC in 1993)
  • Romeo & Juliet (performed by BUSC in 2002, abridged / 2007)
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream (performed by BUSC in 1997 / 2004)
  • King John
  • The Merchant of Venice (performed by BUSC in 1998)
  • Henry IV, Part 1

Late 1590s

  • The Merry Wives of Windsor (performed by BUSC in 1999)
  • Henry IV, Part 2
  • Much Ado About Nothing (performed by BUSC in 2000)
  • Henry V (performed by BUSC in 2001)
  • Julius Caesar (performed by BUSC in 1995)
  • As You Like It

Early 1600s

  • Hamlet (performed by BUSC in 2002)
  • Twelfth Night (performed by BUSC in 2000/ 2014)
  • Troilus & Cressida (performed by BUSC in 2008)
  • Measure For Measure (performed by BUSC in 2013)
  • Othello (performed by BUSC in 2005)

Mid 1600s

  • All’s Well That Ends Well
  • King Lear
  • Timon of Athens (performed by BUSC in 2003)
  • Macbeth (performed by BUSC in 1995 / 2006 / 2015)
  • Antony & Cleopatra (performed by BUSC in 2009)

Late 1600s

  • Pericles (performed by BUSC in 1995)
  • Coriolanus
  • The Winter’s Tale (performed by BUSC in 1997)
  • Cymbeline (performed by BUSC in 2001)

After 1610

  • The Tempest (performed by BUSC in 1999)
  • Henry VIII (performed by BUSC in 2011)
  • Two Noble Kinsmen

Attributed

  • Sir Thomas More
  • Edward III
  • Double Falsehood