William Shakespeare, English playwright and poet, was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564 and was baptised on 26th April. The exact date of his birth is not known, but it is commemorated on the 23rd April. He married Anne Hathaway in 1582 and their first child, Susanna, was born in 1583 and twins, Judith and Hamnet, followed in 1585.
There is a gap in his given history from then until 1592, when he is then known to have been working in the theatre in London as a successful actor and writer. This is often confirmed by references to Robert Greene’s allusion to him as an ‘upstart crow’ in Groatsworth of Witte. Shakespeare went on to work with The Lord Chamberlain’s Company, which was re-named the King’s Company in 1603 when James I became king of England.
Of his writing, the First Folio was collected in 1623 and was published by John Hemminge and Henry Condell. During his lifetime, only 18 were in print, but this collection contains 36 of his plays. This includes all except Pericles and The Two Noble Kinsmen; Pericles first appeared in 1664 in the Third Folio. The chronology of his writing is uncertain, but it is believed the three parts to Henry VI are his among his earliest. He is also the author of Venus and Adonis (1593), Rape of Lucrece (1594) and the sequence of 154 sonnets which were published in 1609.
Over 400 years later, he is not only highly regarded as a national figure, but his work is considered to be of global significance in the history of literature. He is thought to have died on his birthday on the 23rd April in 1616 and was interred on the 25th April.