All the Shakespeare shows, events and theatres from London and beyond
Theatregoers travel from around the world to watch a West End show. Even more so, there’s nothing quite like seeing a Shakespeare play in London. One of the greatest playwrights of all time, Shakespeare and his works are known world over, and they’ve been translated into countless languages. But, if you’re looking to find a slice of Shakespearean culture in London and the United Kingdom, you’ve come to the right place.
Here's our guide to William Shakespeare and Shakespeare shows in London and beyond.
Who is William Shakespeare?
Everyone knows of William Shakespeare. He’s a sixteenth-century British playwright whose works changed the English language. But, as well as writing dozens of plays which are often performed in the present day, Shakespeare was also a respected actor, appearing in his own plays.
We’ve put together a handy guide with everything you could possibly want to know about William Shakespeare from his family, career to his final words. But, if you’re a Bard fanatic, here’s some incredible facts about Shakespeare’s life.
- Did you know you can visit where William Shakespeare was born? Shakespeare was born on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, which is now a public museum.
- William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway at the tender age of 18, having three children: Susanna, Judith, and Hamnet.
- Although Shakespeare is known for his plays, his first printed works were two long poems: Venus and Adonis (1593) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594).
- Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, of which six can be found in Shakespeare plays.
- Shakespeare was born and died on the same day: 23 April. Consequently, 23 April has become a national day to celebrate William Shakespeare’s life.
What plays did William Shakespeare write?
Over his career, William Shakespeare wrote 37 plays. Inspired by historical events in the British monarchy, as well as recycled stories from previous plays, Shakespeare’s works continue to wow audiences today. So much so, Shakespearean phrases in his plays are commonly used as phrases today. Below, we’ve listed all 37 works into the three genres of Shakespeare plays: comedies, histories and tragedies. All plays are listed in alphabetical order by category.
All's Well That Ends Well
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Love's Labour's Lost
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Much Ado about Nothing
The Taming of the Shrew
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter's Tale
What Shakespeare shows are in London?
Whenever you visit London’s theatres, it’s likely that a Shakespeare play will be taking place somewhere in the city. Or, if it’s not a traditional Shakespeare production you’re after, modern adaptations are often popping up too, using Shakespeare stories for inspiration.
The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse will be open in winter 2021 and spring 2022, with four shows taking place:
Audiences can also enjoy & Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre, taking the Romeo and Juliet tragedy and reimagining the ending. The RSC return to the Barbican this winter with The Comedy of Errors. Find out more about The Comedy of Errors in London here.
Which Shakespeare landmarks can I visit in London?
Visiting Shakespeare’s Globe in London is a given. Sadly, it’s not the original Globe Theatre - the reconstructed theatre that stands today was actually opened in 1997. However, it’s as authentic a Shakespeare experience as you’re going to get in the capital, with audience members able to stand in the pit like a groundling and watch a Shakespeare play.
As well as the theatre itself, there’s Shakespearean locations across the capital that you can check out. Pour a pint like the Lord Chamberlain’s men themselves would have done in the 1600s or even check out the site of The Theatre - London’s first ever playhouse.
Where are the best Shakespeare theatres in the United Kingdom?
With Shakespeare revivals commonplace throughout the country, some theatres have dedicated themselves to staging Shakespeare works. In fact, great reputations have been built for numerous playhouses, including open-air seasons, intimate productions and grand affairs.
In London, some of our favourites include Shakespeare’s Globe, the National Theatre, and the annual Royal Shakespeare Company seasons at the Barbican. But go further afield for some wonderful Shakespeare theatre experiences too.
Who are the best Shakespeare actors?
Everybody has their favourite Shakespeare actor. A stand-out performer that’s made such an impression, their lives have perhaps changed after seeing them on stage. From Ian McKellen to Andrew Scott, Judi Dench to Jessie Buckley, actors of all generations are delivering career-defining performances in their portrayals of Shakespeare characters.
What are the best Shakespeare quotes of all time?
“Something wicked this way comes” when “all that glitters is gold.” But “If music be the food of love, play on.” Beware of the “green-eyed monster” though as you can have “too much of a good thing.”
All of those phrases, which we use in conversation and speech today, originate from Shakespeare plays. Changing the course of English language forevermore, Shakespeare quotes have taken on great meaning, centuries after they were first written.
Wanting some Shakespearean inspiration? Here’s round-ups of some of our favourite quotes.
The Best Shakespeare Quotes about Friendship
The Best Shakespeare Quotes about Love
The Best Shakespeare Quotes about Life
The Best Quotes from Shakespeare’s Comedies
The Best Quotes from Shakespeare’s Tragedies