Shakespeare Theatre Company at Westfield Montgomery
Classic theatre for a modern world. Spend four weeks at Westfield Montgomery exploring performances, workshops and tastings curated by the Shakespeare Theatre Company and Westfield Montgomery.
September 18 - October 14, 2017
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
No man’s life has been the subject of more speculation than William Shakespeare’s. Consequently, we know a great deal of information about Shakespeare’s life—far more than that of any of his contemporaries.
Scholars agree that William Shakespeare was baptized at Stratford-upon-Avon on April 26, 1564. Tradition holds that he was born three days earlier, on April 23—the same date on which, 52 years later, he was recorded to have died. On November 27, 1582, a marriage license was granted to 18-year-old William and 26-year-old Anne Hathaway. A daughter, Susanna, was born to the couple six months later. We know that twins, Hamnet and Judith, were born soon after and were baptized. What we do not know is how the young Shakespeare came to travel to London and how he first came to the stage. Whatever the truth may be, it is clear that in the years between 1582 and 1592 Shakespeare became involved in the London theatre scene and was a principal actor with one of several repertory companies.
By 1592 Shakespeare had become prominent enough as a playwright to engender professional jealousy. A rival playwright, Robert Greene, wrote snidely of an “upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his tiger’s heart wrapped in a player’s hide supposes he is in his own conceit the only Shakescene in a country.” In the years between 1591 and 1594, the theatres of London were temporarily shut down due to an outbreak of plague; Shakespeare turned his considerable talents to sonnet writing and acquired a patron, the young Lord Southampton, to whom two of his poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, are dedicated.
In 1594 Shakespeare was listed as a stockholder in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men; he was a member of this company for the rest of his career, which lasted until approximately 1611. When James I came to the throne in 1603, he issued a royal license to Shakespeare and his fellow players, inviting them to call themselves The King’s Men. The King’s Men leased the Blackfriars Theatre in London in 1608. This theatre, which had artificial lighting and was probably heated, served as their winter playhouse. The famous Globe Theatre was their summer performance space.
In the century after Shakespeare’s death, his reputation fell into the depths of obscurity. Beginning with his 18th-century rehabilitation by Samuel Johnson and others, Shakespeare began to be recognized as the greatest writer of English drama. After his adoption as a patron saint of the German romantics, Shakespeare’s writings began to transcend national and linguistic boundaries. Today, his plays are performed, read and studied all over the globe—far more than any comparable figure. No other playwright has made such a significant and lasting contribution to world literature.
ABOUT SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY MISSION
The Shakespeare Theatre Company creates, preserves and promotes classic theatre—ambitious, enduring plays with universal themes—for all audiences.
We create theatre to ignite a dialogue that connects the universality of classic works to our shared human experience in the modern world.
OUR VALUES AND FOCUS
Shakespeare Theatre Company produces and presents the highest-quality classic theatre productions across genres, bringing them to vibrant life in a provocative, imaginative and accessible style.
With Shakespeare at our core, we explore plays of national and international relevancy—those with profound themes, complex characters and heightened language—through a contemporary 21st-century lens.
We expand the classic theatre repertoire in America by reviving and commissioning adaptations and translations of important forgotten works.
We create impactful and responsive arts education and community engagement programs to connect audiences to the significance of classic works and themes.
We provide a home for leading classical artists and a training ground for the next generation of theatre artists and arts administrators.