William Shakespeare is born in Stratford upon Avon to local tanner John and Mary Shakespeare. His actual birthday is unknown but assumed and celebrated today on April the 23rd, just three days before his baptism was recorded in the Parish register of the Holy Trinity Church on April the 26th.
Period: Apr 23, 1564 to
Apr 23, 1571
Joined Formal Education
Shakespeare is likely to have begun his formal education. By local tradition, children in the Stratford area, entered the local grammar school at age seven
May 3, 1575
Queen Elizabeth pays a visit to Kenilworth Castle, just a short journey from Stratford. Legend has it that an impressionable eleven year old William saw the Queen’s procession, and recreated it several times later in his historical and dramatic plays.
Oct 4, 1582
Falls In love.
Shakespeare is in love... At age 18, he marries the considerably older Anne Hathaway (26 years old) from Shottery on November the 27th at Temple Grafton, a village just five short miles (8 km) from Stratford.
Has a kid
Susanna, William and Anne Shakespeare’s first child who lives a full 66 years, is born just five months after Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway’s wedding (May 26th). Illegitimacy was not uncommon in the 1500s
Shakespeare’s twins, Judith and Hamnet are born, (February 2)Hamnet living only eleven years whilst Judith lived 77.
Leaves to join a theatre
Shakespeare is believed to have left his family in Stratford to join a company of actors as both playwright and performer, starting his career in theatre.
Writes First play
Shakespeare is believed by most academics to have written his very first play, Henry VI, Part One in this year.
Writes more plays
Shakespeare is again believed to have written Henry VI, Part Two and Henry VI, Part III
Shakespeare begins to be noticed as a force within London theatre; Robert Greene’s Groatworth of Wit famously calls Shakespeare an "upstart crow". He attacks Shakespeare as lacking originality since he borrows ideas from other for his own plays. Academics see this criticism as proof that Shakespeare was in London at this time.
The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a theatre troupe including distinguished actor Richard Burbage and comic Will Kemp performs with Shakespeare in their group.
A busy year for Shakespeare as he is thought to have composed Richard II performed that very same year, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, thought to be composed for a wedding and the greatest love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet.
The Major shareholders of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men lease land from Nicholas Brend, The Globe theatre opening later that same year. Julius Caesar is performed at the Globe Theatre for the first known time on September the 21st according to German tourist Thomas Platter’s diary. John Weever praises Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, The Rape of Lucrece and Venus Adonis in the poem Ad Guglielmum Shakespeare
Shakespeare is thought to have composed arguably his greatest play, Hamlet at this time.
Commendation from the king.
The Merchant of Venice is performed twice at King James’ Court earning a commendation from the King. King Lear is believed to have been composed in this year and as is Macbeth, the play’s Scottish background and kind portrayal of ancestor Malcolm being intended as a celebration and honoring of King James Scottish ancestry.
21 Year Lease
The King’s Men take on a twenty-one year lease of London’s first permanently enclosed theatre, the Blackfriars Theatre in this year. Notes on stage directions, suggest The Tempest was penned with a performance at this theatre in mind.
The return of the plague forces a closure of all playhouses and theatres
Globe Theatre Burns Down.
The Globe Theatre burns to the ground. The Two Noble Kinsmen is penned. A 1634 entry within the Stationer’s Registry confirms that both William Shakespeare and John Fletcher composed this play.
Globe Theatre Reopens
The Globe Theatre reopens.
William dies on April 23rd, his burial being recorded in the Stratford Holy Church Register two days later.