William Shakespeare


(1564 – 1616)

English poet, playwright, actor, joint manager of a London acting Company, and part owner of one of its theatres. Born in Stratford –Upon-Avon, in Warwickshire, the eldest son of John Shakespeare, glover and wool dealer. By long established tradition, his birthday is celebrated in 23rd April, St. George’s day. The register of Holly Trinity Church, Stratford, records that he was Christened there on 26 April 1564.  He lived for 52 years, partly in Stratford and partly in London. And died at his home in Stratford on 23 April 1616. Two days later he was buried  in the church where he had been Christened.

His life turned on his Stratford London axis: Stratford where he grew up, where his parents, his wife and his children lived. London where he made the theatre career that brought him fame and fortune and from which he withdrew  while still pre-eminent.  His life can be divided into three consecutive periods.  The first period spent wholly in Stratford included boyhood and education, early marriage and the birth of his three children.  The second period began when he still very young he left Stratford to work in London as an actor and playwright. It lasted for 25 years,  in the course of which he became a permanent and leading member  of a great acting company.  For that company he then wrote plays that gave him a commanding place in the London theatre.  With his principal colleagues, he was responsible for the day- to- day business management and artistic direction of the company, receiving a share of its profits in return and becoming part owner of one of the two theatres in which it was based. On top of that he acted for many years, performing in his own plays and on those of other dramatists whose work was in his company’s repertory. Throughout this period he had lodgings in London and he used most of his very considerable income to increase the security and status of his family in their Stratford home, spending time with them between theatre seasons.  The beginning of the third period of his life was marked by his carefully planned and gradual withdrawal from his heavy commitments in the theatre.  Then when he was in his late forties, and possessed of ample means he  left London to live full time in Stratford where he spent the remainder of his days.

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