The National Archives

national archives logo.pngThe National Archives marked Shakespeare400 by collaborating with King’s on an exhibition exploring Shakespeare’s life in London and with a series of talks throughout 2016. Many of the 120 documents held by The National Archives that witness the playwright’s life, and the establishment of early theatres in London, were the focus of exploration and discovery throughout 2016.


By me William Shakespeare: A Life in Writing

'By me William Shakespeare: A Life in Writing' highlighted nine documents which reveal aspects of the playwright’s life, including his iconic will and four of the six known signatures known to be in existence.

The exhibition was held at the Inigo Rooms, Somerset House from 3 February to 29 May 2016 and gave visitors a chance to encounter Shakespeare in his own words and to be taken on a journey from the birth of The Globe theatre, the naming of his players as the King’s Men, through to his dying days in Stratford upon Avon.

A visual display designed by 59 Productions, the creative team responsible for the video projection design of the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony and exhibitions such as ‘David Bowie is’ at the V&A, also formed part of the exciting show. 

Each of the key documents had a dedicated room to narrate the incident in the life of Shakespeare, brought to life alongside carefully selected artefacts and paintings from other institutions

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