Have you ever wondered what life was like in Shakespeare’s era?
According to historical accounts, between 1585 and 1592, William Shakespeare left his home in Stratford and came to London, where he joined a theatre group as an actor and playwright. It was around the late 16th century that many theatres in London closed because of the plague.
Despite the theatre-circuit in London being somewhat non-existence during this bleak period in the capital, it was during this time that many scholars have attributed several of Shakespeare’s plays to this troubled time in London.
A glimpse of what Shakespeare’s London was like can be found in Thomas Dekkar’s text, entitled “The Seven Deadly Sins of London”, which reads:
“Carts and coaches make such a thundering din as if the world ran on wheels: at every corner men, women, and children meet in such shoals that posts are set up to strengthen the houses lest with jousting with one another they should shoulder them down. Besides, hammers are beating in one place, tubs hoping in another (the noise made by coopers or barrel makes), pots clinking in a third, water-tankards running at tilt in a forth… Tradesmen, as it they were dancing galliards are lusty at legs and never stand still”.
A more comprehensive exploration of what life was like in London when Shakespeare was alive can be found at the British Museum, which is holding the ‘Shakespeare: Staging the World’ exhibition. This unseen before event explores what life was like in London four centuries ago through the works of the legendary playwright.
The ‘Shakespeare: Staging the World’ exhibition is being held in the British Museum until 25 November 2012 and provides a wholly unique angle on London life through Shakespeare’s eyes.
This innovative exhibition has been created through collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company and is part of the World Shakespeare Festival. Asides showing many of the playwright’s world-renowned performances, characters and works, the exhibition is also featuring many Shakespeare-related historical objects.
These objects include rare manuscripts, paintings and jewels, including the Lyte Jewel, which was a gift to Thomas Lyte in 1610 as a means of thanks for the tracking down of James I’s lineage through Banquo, whose murder was of course a key component of Macbeth.
During the exhibition, why not stay at the fabulous Luxury hotel in London, The Wyndham Grand in Chelsea Harbour? You can book online or by calling +44 (0)20 7823 3000.