William Shakespeare ~ Actor, Poet, Playwright, and Dramatist

There is a suggestion that William Shakespeare came to Perth in 1589 as part of a troupe of English players. This company performed at the Amphitheatre in Perth – located outside the city walls and close to the Dewars Centre roundabout.

William Shakespeare was born to John Shakespeare and mother Mary Arden some time in late April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon. There is no record of his birth, but his baptism was recorded by the church, thus his birthday is assumed to be 23 April 1564. His father was a prominent and prosperous alderman in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, and was later granted a coat of arms by the College of Heralds. All that is known of Shakespeare’s youth is that he presumably attended the Stratford Grammar School, and did not proceed to Oxford or Cambridge. The next record we have of him is his marriage to Anne Hathaway in 1582. The next year she bore a daughter for him, Susanna, followed by the twins Judith and Hamlet two years later.

Seven years later Shakespeare is recognized as an actor, poet, and playwright, when a rival playwright, Robert Greene, refers to him as “an upstart crow” in A Groatsworth of Wit. A few years later he joined up with one of the most successful acting troupes in London: The Lord Chamberlain’s Men. When, in 1599, the troupe lost the lease of the theatre where they performed, (appropriately called The Theatre) they were wealthy enough to build their own theatre across the Thames, south of London, which they called “The Globe.” The new theatre opened in July of 1599, built from the timbers of The Theatre, with the motto “Totus mundus agit histrionem” (A whole world of players) When James I came to the throne (1603) the troupe was designated by the new king as the King’s Men (or King’s Company). The Letters Patent of the company specifically charged Shakespeare and eight others “freely to use and exercise the art and faculty of playing Comedies, Tragedies, Histories, Inerludes, Morals, Pastorals, stage plays … as well for recreation of our loving subjects as for our solace and pleasure.”

Shakespeare entertained the king and the people for another ten years until 19 June 1613, when a cannon fired from the roof of the theatre for a gala performance of Henry VIII set fire to the thatch roof and burned the theatre to the ground. The audience ignored the smoke from the roof at first, being to absorbed in the play, until the flames caught the walls and the fabric of the curtains. Amazingly there were no casualties, and the next spring the company had the theatre “new builded in a far fairer manner than before.” Although Shakespeare invested in the rebuilding, he retired from the stage to the Great House of New Place in Stratford that he had purchased in 1597, and some considerable land holdings, where he continued to write until his death in 1616 on the day of his 52nd birthday.

A list of the plays by William Shakespeare are below:

Henry VI – Part I

Henry VI – Part II

Henry VI – Part III

Love’s Labour’s Lost

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Comedy of Errors

Richard II

Titus Andronicius

The Taming of Shrew

Romeo and Juliet

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Richard III

King John

The Merchant of Venice

Henry IV – Part I

Henry IV – Part II

Much Ado about Nothing

The Merry Wives of Windsor

As You Like It

Henry V

Troilus and Cressida

Julius Caesar



Twelfth Night

Measure for Measure

All’s Well That Ends Well

King Lear


Timon of Athens

Antony and Cleopatra




The Winter’s Tale

Henry VIII

The Tempest